Shut up and keep up… it's one of those old unwritten rules caddies are supposed to follow unless instructed otherwise. Sounds a bit condescending and demeaning to me, but if the last few weeks have proven anything - Sunday especially - it's that Steve Williams might want to take note of its meaning.
By now you've heard or read the statements Williams has made about his relationship - or lack thereof - with his former employer Tiger Woods. After 13 years of service on Woods' bag, Williams was fired following the AT&T National in July this year. It wasn't an amicable split for long since Williams went on New Zealand TV to express his displeasure with Woods.
On Sunday, the story got even juicier when Williams' new employer, Adam Scott, won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which also happened to be Woods' return after a two month hiatus due to injury. Everything fell into place for Williams to get his revenge in the best way possible… coldly. The quotes say it all:
On what the first win with Scott meant to him… "The very most important thing is when you get the first opportunity to have a win is to try and show them that you know what you're doing."
There's no question Williams knows what he's doing with a bag slung over his shoulder on the golf course. We'll need to dig a little deeper here.
On his intangibles as a caddie… "Obviously it's well documented I've won 145 golf tournaments. Every single guy that I've caddied, even guys that I've caddied for just here and there over the years has won tournaments. There's no one I've caddied for that hasn't won tournaments. So I guess when I caddie for someone, it's kind of a reassurance thing that Steve knows what it takes to get it done. Obviously I'm very confident..."
Now we're getting somewhere. Williams has won 0 golf tournaments in his career, let's get that straight first and foremost. Golfer's win tournaments, caddies give yardages, hand them clubs, carry bags and give advice. That doesn't mean they're not important, they are, very much so actually. However, Williams is giving himself way too much credit for what his golfers have accomplished. A caddie has been on the bag for every tournament won in professional golf. There's no question Williams is a great caddie, but he doesn't hit the shots that win Majors. He doesn't put the hours of practice in to "get it done." Show me a golfer that has to be reassured that their caddie knows how to get it done, and I'll show you a golfer that will never win a Major, and probably not even a tournament for that matter.
On what he needs to bring to his relationship with Scott… "I was straight up with Adam when I had the opportunity to go and work for him. I stressed to him that if you want me to come and caddie for you full time, you've got to sit down and do some hard work and do some hard yards because that's what I expect, and I see some weaknesses in his game that need improving on, between him and his coach and myself, I've been very adamant."
Wow.. where do we start here? Sure, Williams has a great resume, but I'd be surprised if Scott actually sat down and took these demands from a caddie. Honestly, if Scott let himself be pushed around by Williams' ego, I don't think he's got the fortitude to win a Major in the first place. Williams head never stops getting more inflated with hot air as this press conference goes on, so let's just keep going.
On if it's been difficult leaving Woods and moving on… "It's the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that…. It's the most satisfying win I've ever had, there's no two ways about it. I'm not denying that… It's obviously like a dream come true."
And that's the kill shot. Hugging Woods after a Major Championship win when his dad just died wasn't better. Being next to Woods when he won the 2008 U.S. Open with a shredded leg - the most impressive golf victory of all time - wasn't better. Carrying a bag and handing golfers clubs while his bank account grew to millionaire status wasn't better than the first win with a new golfer after being fired. Talk about being caught up in the moment. Williams doesn't just sound as if he hates Woods now, he sounds like a spoiled brat who can't appreciate all the good that has come to him because he got to carry the bag of one of the best golfers of all time.
It wasn't the most satisfying win of his life, it was the greatest revenge he's ever been able to inflict in his life. He's too close to the moment and too bitter to realize that. Woods and Williams were groomsmen in each other's wedding's and they've been through more in 13 years than any other golfer/caddie probably ever. The wound is too fresh for Williams to realize the depth of his words, but one day he'll realize his ignorance got the best of him.
On the attention he's received since being fired… "I guess caddying for Tiger, I've probably been a bit unfair to the media sometimes. I realize I owe you guys something, so it's no problem."
That's a total cop-out for the way Williams has treated the media and fans over the years. He's a hard-ass and apologizing for something he doesn't truly believe isn't in his character. Williams is being chummy with the media because it benefits his state of mind right now, not because he feels like he owes them something. After he reads all the vitriol he's going to get after his little tirade, he'll go right back to his snarky ways.
On how Woods fired him… "I was told on the phone that we need to take a break, and in caddie lingo, that means you're fired, simple as that."
Bottom line, you'll have to take a side on who you believe in this one, Woods or Williams. Woods still claims the firing took place face-to-face, so you can see where this is going. Woods' best play here is to take the high road - as Williams should have done - and simply say he's happy for Scott/Williams and move on. In my opinion, that's exactly what he'll do and it will go a long way for him.
On his newfound popularity… "Hey, people are probably sympathetic to it. That's a good point. People are sympathetic to it."
Not anymore. Look, I'm not trying to be Mr. Houlier-Than-Thou here, I just don't think Williams played this the right way. Personally, I've enjoyed all this drama more than anybody ever should and I'd like it to continue for as long as possible. The golf world has a tendency to get a little bit dull at times and since I write a blog about it, I'll take as much as I can get. It's convenient for Williams to sound off when he's on top of the world, but if Scott doesn't win for a long time and Woods explodes again, he'll never be able to pull the foot out of his mouth. In fact, it may be shoved in there a bit too far now, which is kind of too bad… because this has been kind of a dream come true.