Tiger Woods’ former caddie, Steve Williams, has plenty to say about his old employer in a new book, called “Out of the Rough,” due out Monday.
In an excerpt posted on the New Zealand-based site, stuff.co.nz, Williams, along with co-author Michael Donaldson, makes a number of claims about his relationship with the 14-time major champion, including that he felt belittled and embarrassed by some of Woods’ on-course behavior. Williams said that, after revelations of Woods’ marital infidelity in 2009, he had an honest conversation with his boss about their relationship and what had to happen for them to move forward, starting with Woods’ post-hydrant return at the 2010 Masters.
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. Tiger listened to what I had to say, the air was cleared and we got on with it – his goal was to be the best player in history and my goal was to keep working as best I could to help make that happen.
Williams’ use of the word “slave” may jar some because Woods is black. The Kiwi also has some history using insensitive language when it comes to his relationship with Woods and his race.
At a November 2011 function held during the week of the WGC-HSBC Champions, Williams, who had been fired by Woods four months prior, received a “caddie of the year” award for his work with Adam Scott, who hired Williams first on a temporary basis at that summer’s U.S. Open. When Scott won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August, Williams celebrated like he had personally won. He even held the rare winning caddie’s press scrum. Asked at the ceremony why he was so exuberant with his celebration, Williams said of Woods, “I wanted to shove it up that black arsehole.”
Williams quickly apologized after the event, and Woods had a dignified response, saying his former looper was “definitely not a racist.”
“It was a wrong thing to say,” Woods said at the time. “We’re moving forward. It was hurtful certainly, but life goes forward. It is a comment that shouldn’t have been made and he certainly wishes he didn’t make it.”
The published excerpt also detailed how Williams came to learn of Woods’ infidelity and that the National Enquirer was planning a report to expose Woods’ relationship with Rachel Uchitel.
Woods and Williams, as well Uchitel, were in Melbourne for the 2009 Australian Masters. Before the final round, Williams showed up to Woods’ hotel room to get the clubs and prepare to leave for the course. Williams said Woods took a worrying amount of time to come to the door, some 15 minutes, and, when he did answer, Woods seemed out of sorts and announced a change in plans. Woods said he would take a helicopter from host Kingston Heath to an airport to take his private jet home instead of the original plan of returning to the hotel to gather his things. Woods won the tournament, but the enjoyment didn’t last long.
But the joy of winning dissipated in the strangest fashion. No sooner had Tiger fulfilled his media obligations than he fled to the airport in a chopper, leaving me to head back to the hotel on my own. As I was driving, I got a text from Mark Steinberg which read, ‘There is a story coming out tomorrow. Absolutely no truth to it. Don’t speak to anybody.’
Williams maintains he had no idea what the story would be and that he never knew of Woods’ infidelity, insisting, as he has in the past, that he would have ended his relationship with Woods immediately if he had known of what Woods was doing. Williams wanted to be cleared by Woods’ people of any knowledge of his cheating but never received it. Instead, he received an email from Woods after the Thanksgiving night auto crash that set off a fire storm of media coverage. Williams claims he didn’t hear from Woods for another four months.