Golfweek’s Jim McCabe and Jeff Rude report that the Tiger Woods-Steve Williams relationship had been heading downhill for months, but the final straw may have been Williams caddying for Adam Scott at the AT&T National without Tiger’s permission:
According to these sources, the Woods-Williams partnership – once so prodigious – has been uncomfortable for months, with the player not letting his caddie in on health updates and scheduling plans as he had always done. When Woods announced after the Masters that he had hurt his knee and was taking some time off, Williams returned to New Zealand, only to be summoned when the boss made a late decision to play in The Players Championship.
It turned out to be a long trip for naught, because Woods played nine holes and withdrew after shooting 6-over 42 and complaining of pain in his oft-injured left leg. Williams returned to New Zealand, but was on his way to the U.S. a few weeks later for the U.S. Open when Woods announced he would not play in that major championship. Williams reportedly was unhappy with that development, so when he got a chance to caddie for Adam Scott, he jumped at it – though he first asked Woods.
According to the source, Woods said yes, perhaps reluctantly, because at the prompting of his management team, there was a change of heart. According to a source, Williams was told that it wasn’t a good idea, but the caddie said he already had given his word, so he worked the U.S. Open where Scott missed the cut.
Two weeks later, Williams again worked for Scott at the AT&T National, only this time he reportedly didn’t ask for Woods’ permission. On the Sunday of the AT&T (Scott finished tied for third), Woods reportedly fired Williams in a meeting, using words such as “disloyal” and “overcaddieing,” according to a source.
Asked by a reporter at the British Open, where he again caddied for Scott (T-25), whether he had been fired by Woods, Williams seemed incredulous and said, “Why would you ask a question like that?”
But one source said Williams knew at the British Open that he had been relieved of his duties by Woods, but an agreement had been reached whereby the news wouldn’t be made public until after the major. That way, Scott would be spared intense media scrutiny.
Well, look, maybe it’s better that he ended, and Tiger can return from his Achilles and knee issues with a fresh start. But I do think Stevie is slightly at fault for not getting his boss’ permission before caddying for Scott again.