JOHNS CREEK, GA. — Adam Scott arrives at Atlanta Athletic Club for the PGA Championship this week as a player who must feel extraordinarily comfortable with his chances, but simultaneously understanding that he’ll be the least recognizable member of his player-caddie twosome. Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, drew an inordinate amount of attention following Scott’s win Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational because of Williams’s comments about his former boss, Tiger Woods. Scott has since spoken to Williams about the matter.
“We’ve had our chat about the whole thing, and he feels the way he feels,” Scott said Tuesday. “Look, I just took what he said as confidence for me. If he really feels that that was one of his great wins, then you know, I’m kind of flattered. . . . It all got a little out of hand, but we’ll just go on from there. And hopefully, we’ll let our clubs do the talking for the rest of this week.”
Williams, who won 13 majors with Woods, said after Scott’s victory that it was “the best win I’ve ever had,” and disputed Woods’s account of his dismissal — saying it happened by phone rather than face-to-face.
“It’s very unusual for TV to put a microphone in front of a caddie’s face,” Williams told the Associated Press Tuesday by telephone. “There was a lot of emotion and anger that came out. It wasn’t meant to offend anyone.”
Williams has since been criticized for taking attention away from Scott, who was the runner-up at the Masters in April and used the win to move to ninth in the world rankings.
“I certainly don’t think that was his intention, to steal my moment at all,” Scott said. “But he was asked these questions and he gave his honest answer, I assume, and with a lot of things to do with anything related to Tiger Woods, it’s all scrutinized and blown out of proportion a lot of the time.”
Woods arrived at the course Tuesday, played nine practice holes, and is due to speak to the media at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Though the tournament starts Thursday, the competition began for Phil Mickelson on Tuesday, as it does during virtually every tournament week. Mickelson has made a habit of playing a two-on-two 18-hole match, and Tuesday he and Jeff Overton handily beat Dustin Johnson and Steve Marino (the Fairfax native and University of Virginia grad), 4 and 3.
“A practice round where you hit balls all over the green is more draining than if you go play,” Mickelson said after a practice round that lasted more than 51 / 2 hours. “It takes a lot out of me. Second, it gets me into a competitive mindframe. . . . It’s an 18-hole match, and I find that we never used to do that heading into Ryder Cup [or] Presidents Cup.”
Mickelson said he and Overton, with whom he has enjoyed considerable success on Tuesdays, will “certainly” play together in upcoming team events.
“It gets a partnership, a camaraderie,” Mickelson said. “You find a partner you feed off of. You learn guys that you play well with.” . . . When David Toms won the PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001, he set a tournament scoring record of 265 – 15 under par – which still stands. The track is now, at 7,467 yards, 254 yards longer and still playing to a par of 70.