Steve Williams Doesn’t Seem Like He’s Handling This Breakup Particularly Well, Right?
Adam Scott had a strong first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and never looked back. He coolly fended off surging young players and finished at 17-under 263 to win at Firestone on Sunday.
But did anyone really even care that much about Adam Scott? His (stellar) performance was ultimately overshadowed by the man who was supposed to remain in the shadows: his caddie, Steve Williams. By now you’ve surely heard about Williams, the scorned former caddie of Tiger Woods whose post-tournament remarks were more widely discussed than Scott’s win.
“I’ve caddied for 33 years — 145 wins now — and that’s the best win I’ve ever had,” Williams said.
Burn. His words were daggers aimed directly at Woods, who had a partnership with Williams that didn’t end at club selection; the two were friends, even serving as a groomsman in each other’s wedding. Their once-close relationship undoubtedly ratcheted up the level of rancor surrounding their personal and professional split.
One nice thing about being a scorned ex is that since just about everyone out there has — at some point — been kinda crazy in love, you’re substantially cushioned from judgment, at least for a limited time. You can slide pretty far out on the asymptotes of insanity and there’s still somebody somewhere who will see your strange behavior, nod quietly, and murmur, “I felt the same way.”
But Williams blew his head start almost immediately out of the gate, holding a whiny interview in which he complained about wasting two years of his life — a woe-is-me stance not exactly appreciated by those who consider the role of “Tiger Woods’ caddie” to be among the more luxurious of sinecures.
His belligerent words then and on Sunday were not out of character; in the past Williams has thrown cameras into lakes and called Phil Mickelson a prick. Nor were they completely out of line: The win was undoubtedly a sweet one for Williams. Still, not since Tiki Barber has a man in a potentially sympathetic position, and a man who isn’t even particularly wrong, been so difficult to agree with.
Honestly, though: If this guy’s gonna stick around taunting Tiger and trying to rack up revenge points, then I have no choice but to root for an all-out scenario in which he turns out to be some next-level Golf Whisperer — like, the Phil Jackson/Bela Karolyi/Mrs. Piggle Wiggle of caddies. I want media criticism that casts a wry eye on the number of articles about Williams that contain the word “Svengali.” I want players lining up to work with him, including an episode in 10 years when he and Tiger grudgingly reunite. I want rumors of subterfuge and sabotage and shadowy back-channel dealings. I want the formation of offshoot schools that revere him as some sort of guru, like they have in Pilates.
The good news is he appears to be comfortably trending in that direction. “I caddie and I go racing,” he told a golf broadcaster this past weekend, “When I go to the race track, the only place I’m interested in finishing is first. When I go to the golf course, that’s the only place I’m trying to finish.”
“I caddie and I go racing” tells you everything you need to know about Williams — it’s what would happen if “I drive a Dodge Stratus” applied for a job at a country club. And come to think of it, the whole concept of “Tiger Woods’ Scorned Caddie” is something right out of Will Ferrell’s greatest hits: a character caught between the mundane and the absurd, the earnest and the affected; the kind of person who lives in a narrow and bizarre world; and someone whose goofy facade masks a simmering tension that is funny, outrageous, and a little bit bleak.
Katie Baker is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow her on Twitter at @KatieBakes.
Previously from Baker:
What the Long Island Vote Means for the Islanders (and NHL Fans)
Table for Two
No Place Like Home?
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