Nov
15
2011
Stevie Williams: I Should Have Dumped Tiger Before the Scandal
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Stevie in 2009: If I could look into the future...

No, no, it’s not what you think — Steve Williams wasn’t actually dumb enough to open his mouth after the whole “black arsehole” controversy in Shanghai a few weeks ago. (There’s now an unspoken restraining order that keeps Stevie from speaking within 500 feet of a microphone.) Not long ago, in a taped interview with Yahoo’s Graham Bensinger, Williams said he wished he could have ended his relationship with Tiger Woods on a high and left him after they won the 2009 Australian Masters:

“I think in everything you do in life, you’d like to go out on a high. When I look back, perhaps after Tiger competed down here in Australia — at the Australian Masters — it was a memorable win. I really enjoyed that tournament and it was the last event he played before all the events transpired. Perhaps I should have, you know, left him then.”

“When I look back, my gut feeling at some time, one part of me said that would be a good way to finish because that was a good memory.”

Shoulda, woulda, coulda…why say that now (or last month — whenever the interview was recorded)? What’s the point? It’s just more proof Stevie can’t let go. I feel like he’d benefit from spending some time at a Buddhist temple and/or a yoga retreat.

Other Stevie sound bytes from the 23-plus-minute interview…

*On Tiger not breaking Jack Nicklaus’ major championship record: “Well, if you look at it in the perspective that he has to have a career equal to Phil Mickelson to here on in — Phil is a fantastic player, he’s had four majors, the next best number of major championships won after Tiger in the time frame Tiger’s been on Tour. So he kind of has to replicate that kind of career down the road here.”

*On the likelihood of Tiger regaining dominance: “I think it’ll be very difficult because the strength of play on the professional golf world is just extraordinary. There are so many great players and the level of competition is just so good now. It’s so strong and just full of talented players. I think it’ll be difficult for anyone — not just Tiger — but anyone to dominate the game.”

*On pre-hydrant-era Tiger’s intimidation factor: “He just played in a fashion that no one else played in a while, so that’s intimidating and the intimidation factor counts for a lot — there’s no two ways about it. And right now Tiger doesn’t have that intimidation factor and that’s part of his auxiliary that’s not there anymore.”

*On his reaction when the scandal first broke: “I obviously felt sorry for him. I just didn’t like having my name associated with it. That sort of activity is not something I had anything to do with. It was just something I didn’t like.”

*On people thinking Stevie had to know about Tiger’s multiple affairs: “Given the fact of the amount of time I spent with Tiger and how close we were — if it were someone else, it’d be very difficult not to know and I agree with that. That’s where it all stems from. The majority of people’s opinion was Steve couldn’t know. How could he not know? He spent so much time with Tiger, stayed with him quite frequently, the best of mates — how could he not know? That was the conception and that’s where it all came from.”

*On what he would have done had he known: “I’m a very loyal sort of person..I don’t agree with that sort of behavior. I would have been strongly giving (Tiger) my piece of advice.”

*On his knowledge of what happened in the early hours of the day after Thanksgiving 2009: “I’ve never asked Tiger (what went on that night) — that’s a personal thing. I don’t need to know and I don’t want to know.”

*On whether things at home were tense for Stevie because he and his wife were friends with Tiger’s now ex-wife Elin Nordegren: “It’s no doubt it was difficult. When you become friends with any couple, regardless of who it is — it’s not easy. I don’t change my opinion of (Elin) because she’s not with him anymore. She’s a great person and Elin and Tiger have two lovely children together. Elin is the mother and Tiger is the father. Whilst the parents are not together, they’re a great family and she’s a lovely person.”

*On how well he actually knew Tiger looking back: “Not very well, obviously — that sort of goes without saying. I guess I thought I knew him well, but I didn’t.”

*On what happened before they split when Stevie flew from New Zealand to caddie for Tiger at The Players in May: “We obviously had a difference of opinion on something and Tiger thought it was best we part ways.”

*On his reaction to being fired: “Well, I mean, you’re obviously disappointed, but it’s the nature of the business. You always know at some particular time you get an inkling things could get coming to an end and it’s something that we all go through in this line of work. It’s like being a coach.”

*On when he felt an inkling things were coming to an end: “We didn’t click and when we both got together back at Augusta, we certainly didn’t click the way we used to. You always know things are going to come to an end at some time and it’s just what happens.”

*On whether he expects to mend things with Tiger: “Obviously the comments that I made following Adam’s victory at Firestone probably suggested there was a bit of animosity between the two of us. When you say, have we had any contact — we haven’t had any voice contact. He sent me a (congratulatory) text after Adam won and I really respected that…Time will tell. He plays on the Tour, I caddie on the Tour, so it’s not like you don’t see each other, so we’ll see what transpires.”

*On the biggest misconception people have about the role of caddies: “Professional caddying is a very intricate sort of job and it’s a very difficult sort of profession. Most people think you just carry the bag and give some information. Most sports you’re out there on your own or with your team, (but in golf) you have a coach, confidante, psychologist, caddie, whatever you want to call it right there beside you helping you all the way.”

*On how much he thinks Tiger valued his contribution to the 13 majors, etc: “All players that play at the PGA Tour level know that one of the key assets to their team is their caddie — it’s the person that spends the most time with them of all the people on their team. It’s a key ingredient. When you have a good bond and good rapport on the course that is successful, it’s a mutual thing — you have good respect for each other and you know what the other person is thinking, so things transpired very positively on the course. When I look back, I know I gave it 100% on the course whether it was Tiger or anyone else…You hold no grudge. I gave it 100%.”

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Stevie holding a grudge? No way! I definitely haven’t sensed any pettiness.

(Hat tip Devil Ball Golf)