Golf caddies: seen, but not heard?

By Cameron McMillan

Steve Williams has been criticised for breaking an unwritten rule in golf that caddies don't talk to the press after saying yesterday's win at the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational by playing partner Adam Scott was the "greatest of his career".

The New Zealander, who was sacked last month by former world No 1 Tiger Woods, was sought out by American broadcasters immediately after yesterday's closing round, a rare occurrence for a caddie.

In just his fourth appearance carrying the 31-year-old's clubs, Williams made it clear he rated the win very highly.

"I have been caddying for 33 years and that was the greatest week of my life,'' said Williams, who had previously enjoyed success at the Bridgestone Invitational on seven occasions when working for Woods.

"I have now had 145 wins and that's the best win I've ever had.''

Golfers took to Twitter yesterday slamming Williams for overshadowing Scott who picked up his eighth PGA Tour victory at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

LPGA Tour player Christina Kim said Williams should have congratulated Scott on the victory.

"Steve surely doesn't seem bitter at all. Greatest week of my life. Good job congratulating Adam, who hit the shots, you knob," Kim wrote.

European tour golfer Chris Wood shared those thoughts saying:

"Steve Williams taken all the attention off Adam scotts fantastic win! Played great and nobody is talking about him this morning!!! #shameful".

While 1993 PGA Championship winner Paul Azinger said the New Zealander shouldn't have spoken to the media.

"Steve Williams breaks the unwritten caddy rule, by talking to the press. Most don't, a few do at times when appropriate. #notapopularguy" columnist Gene Wojciechowski wrote that Scott deserves better than being an afterthought in the bitter feud better Williams and Woods.

"Since when does a caddie earn more chants and more cheers than the guy he's carrying the bag for?...It didn't have to be that way. It shouldn't have been that way. This was Scott's moment, not Williams'," he wrote.

On ESPN's 1st and 10 show Skip Bayless backed Williams saying he is the greatest caddie of all time and deserved 40 percent of the credit for the victory.

"Anyone out there who says a caddie is just a caddie knows nothing about professional golf. Steve Williams is the greatest caddie ever...the issue is if he wants to call it the most satisfying, I'll buy satisfying maybe not the greatest because I thought Stevie Williams played about 40 percent of the role for Adam Scott's win.

"Because Adam Scott is a career long under confident underachiever and Stevie Williams just on coaching and motivating alone raised his game, raised his body language. He listened to every word that came out of Steve Williams' mouth and for the first time in a long time, Stevie's player was listening to him."

While the Guardian's golf blogger Lawrence Donegan says as long as Scott is winning he shouldn't care what his caddie says.

"He couldn't care less about what Steve says about Tiger, or what Tiger says about Steve. He is happy with his life. He is delighted with his golf game. And he likes his new caddie, warts and all. That should be good enough for reasonable people. It is certainly good enough for me."

Much like his former boss, Williams is quickly becoming a polarizing figure on the PGA Tour. Last month in a column called 'Tiger caddie got what he deserved' New York Post's Mike Vaccaro ripped into the Kiwi caddie.

"I'll put this as succinctly as I can: I have covered sports for a living for 25 years. For most of those years I've covered professional sports, which means I've endured some of the basest, most odiferous behavior patterns ever. I've encountered egos, and sociopathic narcissism, and the kind of corrosive, offensive diatribes that would make an HBO documentarian blush. I've met some boors in my day. And none of them was worse than Stevie Williams," Vaccaro wrote.

"...On three separate occasions, in close proximity to galleries, I saw Stevie Williams advise three different paying fans to do anatomically impossible gestures. This wasn't preceded by, "Excuse me," or, "Sorry to bother you," or even "We're trying to work here."

"All three times, a fan made the mistake of yelping something to the tune of "We love you, Tiger, you're the man!" And Steve Williams' retort was, "Get the bleep out of the way and go bleep yourself.""

With the world's top golfers heading to Atlanta for the final major of the year the week, the US PGA Championship, it may not be long before Woods and Scott (and Williams) make headlines again.

The duo head into the tournament among the favourites to take out the event with the TAB offering $20 odds for both players.

- With NZPA

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