Saturday 22 July 2017

I've lost all respect for Tiger, fumes Williams

William S Callahan

SACKED caddie Steve Williams has slammed former boss Tiger Woods, saying he has lost respect for golf's fallen idol.

Though their parting after 12 hugely successful years was not made public until this week, Williams revealed that the news was broken to him by Tiger on Sunday at the AT&T Championship earlier this month.

"I met with Tiger after the completion of the final round," explained the New Zealander, who caddied for Aussie Adam Scott at that tournament and in the US and British Opens as Woods was laid up by knee and Achilles tendon injuries.

"I'd say I was very disappointed," he said. "At that particular time I just took it on the chin and went on about (my business).

"Now I've had time to reflect, the timing of it is very disappointing as far as I'm concerned.

"I'm a very big stickler for loyalty and stuck with Tiger through his very difficult period," Williams went on.

"A lot of people thought I should have left his side when things weren't going the way they should be going, if you like, but I stood by Tiger."

Williams came under severe pressure from the moment the Woods sex scandals broke in November 2009, despite his repeated public assurances that he'd known nothing about Tiger's nocturnal habits.

"The last 18 months have been the most difficult period I've been through in my life," he said. "Though I'm pretty hard-headed and probably took it better than my wife and family, there's no way I should have been put through that.

"My name should have been cleared immediately but it wasn't and that's what makes it even more disappointing.

"To be let go when I stuck with him through thick and thin, through his scandals, swing changes and a new coach...

"I'm not disappointed in the fact I got fired. I'm just disappointed in the timing of it, given how loyal I've been.

Loyalty

"Obviously that loyalty didn't mean much to him. You could say I have basically wasted the last two years of my life."

Asked if this had affected their friendship, Williams said: "Well, you've got to gain someone's respect. After what he went through there at the completion of 2009, I told him when I first met back up with him at Augusta in April 2010 he'd have to win my respect back.

"He'd know right now that I've lost a tremendous amount of respect for him, especially what's just transpired, so I hope in time he can gain my respect back."

The industry norm is for PGA Tour caddies is to be paid a basic wage of $1,000 per tournament and pick up a 10pc share of a winning purse, seven pc for a top-10 placing and five pc if their player makes the cut.

Yet Tiger was such a prolific winner, he's said to have struck a different deal with Williams, reputedly paying him between $1.5m and $2m per year.

That's an expensive option if he's no longer winning tournaments, which may explain why Woods wants to strike up a more traditional deal with a new caddie.

Bookies have installed Lee Westwood's caddie as 5/1 joint-favourite to defect to Tiger's bag.

The World No 2's bagman Billy Foster is joined by Bryon Bell and Mike 'Fluff' Cowen, two men who have formerly caddied for Woods, at the head of the market.

Other names in the running include Dubliner Colin Byrne and the currently out-of-work Tony Navarro, both at 10/1.

Irish Independent

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