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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 08/10/2011

PGA Championship 2011: Paul Azinger on Tiger Woods, Steve Williams — and Adam Scott


Tiger Woods, the early bird. (Courtesy Nike Golf via Twitter)
At 6:30 a.m., a solitary golfer struck the ball at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Tiger Woods had the course to himself for a bit as he prepared for the PGA Championship, perhaps searching for his identity. Woods may have been alone, one endorsement deal lighter, but his controversial firing of his long-time caddie Steve Williams continued to reverberate.

Paul Azinger was the latest to dissect the player-caddie relationship after Williams admitted that his reaction was “a little over the top” when his new boss, Adam Scott, won Sunday. Azinger didn’t mince words.

“I don't have a problem with Stevie talking to the press and I have nothing against the guy, but here's the deal: the player-caddie relationship is a special relationship and it's a unique bond,” Azinger said in an interview with WDAE in Tampa.

“The player and the caddie have to get along, the caddie has to know it's a job, it's a business, and show up on time. There's like two or three reasons to get a caddie fired. The player could be sick of looking at the guy and a change could be as good as a rest or the caddie has done something to irritate the player. That's about it.

“The old joke is when the player plays good the caddie says we, but when the player plays bad the caddie says he. In this case the player played great and the caddie said I.”

Azinger was more critical of Williams’ timing than the content of his comments.

“When he said it was the greatest week of my life I don't know how anybody could believe that and it just shows you there is a lot of bitterness and animosity towards Tiger still and the way he was let go. Probably some of it is justified, but he should've given Adam Scott his props and then lit Tiger up and I think everybody would've thought differently.”

Woods hasn’t talked about his reaction to Williams’ comments. Expect that to change when he holds a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Azinger’s theory about how the Williams-Woods relationship went south?

“I have no idea . . . I don't have a vendetta against either one of them, I have always pulled for Tiger to do well. He's the most exciting player whether you like him or hate him now, and for me personally it's hard to watch the product unless he is in it.

“Now that Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are playing well it's becoming a little better product, but it's a great product when Tiger is playing whether you hate him or love him.”

By  |  10:05 AM ET, 08/10/2011

 
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