Tiger Woods and Steve Williams
Tiger Woods and Steve Williams at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando back in 2011. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Steve Williams, the former caddie of Tiger Woods, has aimed his latest broadside at the 14-times major winner with the claim that he was treated like a “slave” during the pair’s time together.
Williams’s autobiography – Out of the Rough – charts his career which focuses, for obvious reasons, on his successful alliance with Woods. The duo were together for 13 years, during which time Woods won 13 majors.
In part of the book, which was serialised in Williams’s native New Zealand over the weekend and is to be released on Monday, he turns attention towards Woods’s on- and off-course behaviour.
The issue was directly raised in March 2010, when Woods called Williams to personally apologise for the infidelity scandals which had come to light in sensational fashion three months earlier. Williams had been angered by an earlier lack of contact from Woods and his management team.
“There was a lot I needed to say and it was going to be difficult to tell my boss he had to pull his head in,” Williams recalls. “I explained to him what had happened in New Zealand and how furious I was at being dragged through the wringer over a scandal I had nothing to do with. He needed to know how difficult that was for me and my family.
“I told him it was something that could have been avoided and how bitterly disappointed I was at his people for their total lack of communication and unwillingness to put out a statement saying I had nothing to do with it.
“I was adamant that some of his behaviour on the course had to change. He was well known for his bad temper and, while that wasn’t pleasant to witness, you could live with it because it ended as quickly as it started. But he had other bad habits that upset me. I wanted him to prove to me he could change his behaviour and show me‚ and the game of golf, more respect.
“One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club, it was like I was his slave. The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt.”
Woods and Williams had been famously close, to the point the golfer was the best man at his caddie’s wedding in 2006. Williams doesn’t believe the televised apology Woods offered for his affairs was “warranted”. Williams adds: “It was heavily scripted with nothing natural about it.”
The New Zealander, who took time away from golf to write the book before returning to work for Adam Scott, took a dim view of Woods’s affairs.
“I didn’t have any sympathy for him over what he’d done,” Williams says. “I believe you’re in charge of your own actions and I have no sympathy for people who get addicted to drugs or gambling or sex. People make choices in their lives and he had chosen to do this.
“But I did have sympathy for the way he’d had to suffer in front of the world when others would have been able to sort out their mess in private.”
Williams insists he was completely in the dark as to Woods’s behaviour while it was continuing. “How could I spend so much time with him and not have an inkling this was going on?” Williams asks. “The answer, in a roundabout way, is that Elin [Woods’s ex-wife] didn’t know either. Only a handful of his oldest buddies actually had any idea this was going on. I didn’t know because Tiger didn’t dare tell me.”
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