Steve Williams needs to let go of the Tiger Woods drama and get back to caddying


Steve Williams caddies for Adam Scott during a Tuesday practice round for the PGA Championship. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

For a brief moment, Steve Williams was the most popular caddie in America since Danny Noonan. He was certainly the most voluble.

His new boss, Adam Scott (Ty Webb?), has demonstrated a remarkable amount of patience with Williams, but seems to have finally conveyed to Williams that it was time to shut up about his former boss, Tiger Woods (Judge Smails?)

Sadly, this script is missing Al Czervik and Carl Spackler. We could use the laughs.

I believed (and still do) that Williams was poorly treated by Woods, who fired Williams in what at least appeared to be a fit of pique after Williams, idle for several years, sought work with Scott. I wrote that Williams was wronged, people agreed or disagreed — and I thought we were done talking about it.

What was I thinking?

Given that Williams was not very popular with fans during his time with Woods — he’d practically beat you to death with a 9-iron for inhaling during His Highness’s backswing — I did not count on Williams morphing into the Justin Bieber of the Bags. Fans chanted his name at last weekend’s Bridgestone Invitational — as he approached the 18th green, carrying the clubs of the player who was actually about to win the tournament.

That was an odd thing for a gallery to do and, frankly, insulting to Scott, but it was hardly Williams’s fault. His remarks afterward, however, when he again dissed Woods and generally took the spotlight off his golfer — that was entirely Williams’s fault.

Scott had just earned $1.4 million. That meant Williams had just earned $140,000. Even after taxes, that’s a nice paycheck for a week’s work. There are millions of families in this country living on far less than half of that.

Sure, Williams was questioned by the media after the round. But don’t blame the messengers. All Williams had to do is praise Scott and keep his mouth shut about The Other Guy, who had slammed the trunk hours earlier after finishing 18 strokes behind Scott and earning far less money than Williams. Karma is currently on Williams’s side — but karma doesn’t like a braggart.

There had been a back-and-forth earlier in the week about how Williams was fired — the caddie says it was by phone, Woods’s spokesman disputes that. Apparently Williams just had to get in one more shot. So he said the Bridgestone Invitational was “the greatest week of my caddying in my life.”

That might have been meant as a compliment for Scott, but Williams made it pretty clear that it was a shot at Woods. And could it really be true? Was it really greater than all those majors? The U.S. Open when Woods won on one leg? Really? If Woods was so horrible to be around all those years, why were you in his wedding? And why did you wait around for two years while Woods went through injuries and other problems?

We’ll never know the answers to those questions, because even Williams realizes he went too far. His comments forced Scott to answer questions about the sordid end to the Woods-Williams relationship on a day when he ought to have been in the spotlight. Tour players got used to having to answer endless questions about Tiger in the old days, when Woods was winning — and you can blame the messengers, that’s fair — but their patience has grown thin as Woods struggles to be relevant to the game again. And I don’t blame them.

For his part, Woods politely deflected a smattering of questions about Williams during a news conference Wednesday morning, saying he was happy for Scott and Williams and added, “I sent Stevie a nice text afterward.”

Whatever. When Scott says, “Hopefully, we’ll let our clubs do the talking for the rest of the week,” that message was clear, even to Williams, who issued an apology via his website Wednesday morning. Now, it’s time for Williams to get back to lugging the sticks. Time to let go of whatever happened with Woods. Time to go back to being merely a caddie who, like children in the good old days, should be seen and not heard.

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