Wednesday 24 May 2017

Shock as Tiger Woods axes caddy after 11-year partnership

Karl MacGinty

TIGER WOODS has parted company with shell-shocked New Zealand caddie Steve Williams after 11 years and four months in which they became one of the most potent partnerships in sport.

Woods announced on his website last night that Williams (47) -- at his side for 13 of his 14 Major wins -- will never again work for him, prompting speculation that Tiger won't return to competitive golf in the immediate future, if at all this year.

Still resting the left knee and Achilles tendon injuries that forced him to limp out of The Players at Sawgrass in May, Woods missed the US and British Opens.

Williams caddied for Adam Scott at both Majors and also when the Australian finished third in the AT&T Championship, forging a relationship that is expected to become permanent.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change," Woods said in a statement. "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."

Watching Woods and Williams work at Doral in March and then at April's US Masters, it was clear the bond that once existed between them was not as strong as before.

Following the sexual scandals that threw Tiger's life into chaos and wrecked his marriage, Williams said he knew nothing of his employer's off-course antics.

Prior to November 2009, Tiger would have had his pick of the world's top caddies, but not any more. For example, Yorkshire's Billy Foster, who once would have been a favourite to replace Williams, seems unlikely to leave World No 2 Lee Westwood for Woods.

Williams said: "Needless to say this came as a shock. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger's scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries, I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time."

Irish Independent

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