To Adam Scott, Stevie Seems Like Bagger Advance
By Will Leivenberg under WGC

Stevie's in a familiar place: atop the leaderboard at Firestone with a guy in a red shirt!

Contrary to popular belief – and the Golf Channel TV cameras – there were golfers competing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational today not named Tiger Woods.

Adam Scott and his newly acquired, full-time caddie Stevie Williams were the real story of the day. The Aussie posted a bogey-free, 8-under-par, 62, the lowest first-round score in tournament history and one off the tournament record (61) set by Tiger Woods in 2000.

After the round, Scott was asked,

At what point did you get a key reading or piece of advice from Stevie?
ADAM SCOTT: Today? I don’t know, he just seems to have a lot of good rounds in him around this place, that’s for sure. (Laughter.) He didn’t think it was a big deal to shoot 62. It was normal.

Sure, Stevie’s got a few ‘good rounds’ up his sleeve. He’s only won this exact tournament on this exact course seven times alongside Woods. Considering this was the first round of competition for Woods since the split between him and Williams – causing a massive media frenzy – you couldn’t help but think that as Scott continued to surge, Williams’ adrenaline only rose with him.

That was sort of the vibe all day long. Scott and Stevie were a tandem facing off against the solo Woods, adding a Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi feel to the battle at Firestone.

After his round, Scott praised Williams’ relentlessness and constant encouragement.

“I think he just wants to bring a good energy toward me. I think he believes in my game, that I can be one of the best players in the world. You know, I think he thinks he can help me achieve that, and I believe that, too. So it’s just a positive energy and just good motivation.”

Having Stevie on the bag must be a source of not only support, which Scott mentioned, but confidence as well. Stevie has more experience than any other caddie on the PGA Tour, and probably in the world of golf.  His experience alongside Woods through countless victories around the world, an array of major championships, and even the rounds under intense pressure that bitterly slipped away make him an invaluable piece to Scott’s rapidly evolving puzzle.

There’s no denying Williams has the capacity to positively affect Scott’s budding future.

“He’s given me a lot of insight into my game from his perspective, and that’s been appreciated. I think he knows a lot about it. He thinks I can be as good a player as I want to be, but he’s adamant that you’ve got to put the work in and I think he sees that I am putting the work in. Everything is very positive and confident with Steve so far, and you know, that’s hopefully rubbing off on me.”

When round two gets underway Friday, Stevie will be in a familiar position as a field of 75 of the world’s most talented golfers chase after him. Oh, and Scott too.

Woods will be a part of that pack of players hoping to catch the leader. Knowing him (at least pre-hydrant era), nothing is ever really out of his grasp. Tiger’s opening round 2-under-par, 68, wasn’t anything exceptional, but definitely very promising with his “flush” (as he described) ballstriking.

The score of the grudge match through round one: Stevie: 1, Tiger: 0. Who knows, Stevie might get his eighth win at Firestone before Tiger!

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)