Stevie Williams and His Delusions of Grandeur: The Glorification of a Scorned Caddy
You don’t like Tiger Woods. I get it.
He’s arrogant, often condescending to the media, not to mention cheated on his wife habitually and seemingly without remorse.
When Woods fired long-time caddy Stevie Williams, there was an outpouring of vitriol against Tiger, including from Williams himself who insisted Tiger had lost his respect.
Where was this rhetoric when he was winning majors and winning Williams’ hundreds of thousands of dollars? He respected Tiger then.
Williams went on and on about how he stood by Tiger’s side as if it were some noble and moral choice. Williams would never have turned his back on his cash cow.
To believe Williams had no idea about Tiger Woods’ extra-marital affairs is to be naive in a way that almost defies description. He knew it, and he looked the other way – or perhaps even encouraged it, we don’t know – because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, at least until it stops feeding you.
That lead to an interesting storyline at the World Golf Championship with Stevie Williams on the bag of eventual winner Adam Scott.
Williams had become a somewhat sympathetic figure, having drawn sympathy as another victim in Hurricane Tiger as Woods desperately tried to put together his life and didn’t care who he hurt in the process – a ridiculous and melodramatic sentiment to begin with, but one that was nonetheless perpetuated even in mainstream media.
When Scott won, it was a big “F U” to Tiger because Williams was on the bag, twisting the knife by addeding an interview that it was the best week he’d ever had.
Williams’ masterbatory post-round press conference was a disgusting display of self-importance, so self-gratifying it was as if he’d need kleenex to clean up when he was finished.
More than that however, it seemed to confirm for people some misguided notion that Williams was somehow the driving force behind Tiger Woods and his 14 major wins (even though Williams was only on the bag for 13 of them).
Perhaps that started with Williams taking the credit for this latest victory, constantly referring to his victory as if he’d been the ones peppering the pin and making 30 foot putts – just so we’re clear, that was Adam Scott…you know the guy who actually won.
I had a friend argue vehemently that without Stevie, Tiger Woods wouldn’t be Tiger Woods, 14-time major winner and golf legend. Another friend argued the same.
While I can’t be sure that Tiger and Steve’s messy break up caused them to take sides the way friends have to do in a real break-up, or if they truly believed that to be true.
Since there’s also no way to prove Stevie’s impact retrospectively let’s look at the facts in a logical way, devoid of the cloudiness of this Tiger/Stevie broken heart mess.
Here’s what we know:
Tiger and Stevie won 13 majors together
Tiger won the Masters in 1996 by 12 strokes in his major championship debut without Stevie
Jack Nicklaus won six Masters without his long-time caddy Angelo Argea because until the mid 1980’s players were not allowed to bring their own caddies to Augusta.
Why is that third point relevent? Let’s backtrack.
Stevie Williams is a good caddy. That is pretty well established since he’s widely considered among the best on tour over the last two decades. He’s caddied for Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd, two all-time greats.
Did those guys win because of him?
Let’s take the converse. When Greg Norman choked, did we blame his caddy? When Y.E. Yang chased down Tiger to become the first player ever to catch Tiger on Sunday it happened because Woods missed a putt on 18 to force a playoff.
Was that on Stevie?
When Phil Mickelson blew up time after time did we blame his caddy, who happens to be one of maybe three total caddies whose name people might actually recognize?
Of course not.
There’s no unequivocal way I can prove Tiger Woods would have won 14 majors without Stevie Williams. On the other hand, Jack Nicklaus, the only other player ever to have won like Woods has, won six majors with an Augusta shed boy on his bag.
Do we ever talk about Nicklaus deserving more credit for those wins because he didn’t have his trusted caddy at his side?
Even if we assume Stevie was good for a stroke or a two a tournament, when Tiger was in his prime he was destroying the field. In 2000, he won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes and the British Open by 8 strokes setting a Major Championship record at -19.
You hate Tiger Woods. I get it.
But except for an adulterous past, all the things you hate about Tiger Woods, the arrogance, the condescension, the self-importance, his ex-caddy has in spades.
You can like Stevie Williams because you think Tiger wronged him ( he didn’t). But remember Woods won so much that Williams would be 225 all-time on the money list if he’d played (he didn’t, Tiger did).
Tiger doesn’t owe Stevie anything, yet gave him more than he’d ever gotten on his own.
Woods may never win another major, but it won’t be because Stevie isn’t on his bag.
Adam Scott will likely win again, maybe even next week, and Stevie may be a big reason why (Scott is one of the most talented players on tour, he just needed confidence in his putting stroke0.
But don’t denigrate what Tiger Woods has accomplished by attributing his success to a caddy simply because you don’t like Tiger.
Stevie Williams does enough overstating of his legacy and importance. Don’t carry his bag too.