Nov
11
2015
Stevie Williams defends using “slave” to describe working for Tiger Woods
By Stephanie Wei under Caddies

Steve Williams has been embroiled in controversy ever since the publishers of the most famous caddie in golf released excerpts to promote his autobiography, “Out of the Rough.” Of all the paragraphs that could have helped to sell books, naturally, the suits are going to utilize the most controversial ones.

Well, that turned out to be the case when Williams likened working for Tiger Woods as feeling like he was being treated as a “slave.” Obviously, that one word in that one particular sentence out of an entire book created a global sh*tstorm.

Via the AAP:

He wrote: “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.”

Williams told AAP the slave reference was “one word that could have been changed” when writing his memoir.

After a week or two since the excerpts were released and the ensuing reprisal that followed, Williams didn’t realize that the word “slave” would trigger an international incident, according to USA Today.

In an email to USA TODAY Sports, Williams, who worked with Woods for 13 years and was on the bag when the former No. 1 won 13 of his 14 majors, defended his choice of words.

“In this part of the world where slavery has never existed people use slave as a description of their service or work every day,” Williams wrote Wednesday in an email while on tour promoting the book in New Zealand. “We use the word loosely down under. After reviewing the book several times before it was published, it never crossed my mind to change the word.

“It merely was a description of how I felt about something, and in no way in the context it was used does it suggest I was treated like a slave.”

I sincerely believe that Williams did not consciously use the word to stir up drama, nor was he trying to be malicious. He’s not perfect by any means, but in my interactions with him over the last five years, I haven’t gotten the impression that he’s a terrible human being. He is who he is and he has his moments and doesn’t apologize for being himself.

I’ve also found that those from Australia and New Zealand aren’t as “PC” as most of the world, so I could understand how Stevie didn’t think it was a big deal or offensive (and obviously was wrong — likening your job to slavery is just a gross exaggeration and a figure of speech that you should keep to yourself or behind closed doors, at least).  Sure, he probably shouldn’t have chosen to use the word “slave.” It easily could have been replaced with something like, “manservant.”

I have yet to read Williams’ book, but I’m not going to lie, I’m a little intrigued, especially after reading this review.

Meanwhile, Williams is still working part-time for Adam Scott. At last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions, the same time the excerpts/book were released, Scott insisted the situation wouldn’t become a distraction. Scott ended up finishing 70th out of 76 players in the no-cut event.