After 39 years of caddying, Steve Williams is set for a new experience.
Williams will be taking the bag for his first professional women's event, supporting American Danielle Kang at New Zealand Women's Open next week.
Kang is one of the favourites for the Open, after a breakout season where she won her first major tournament at the PGA Championship.
The 24-year-old has recorded five top 10 finishes in 2017, and is 11th on the LPGA Tour money list. Now she has the assistance of Williams, for whom the Open at Windross Farm, Auckland will be a new venture.
"I've never caddied at any professional women's event before, so it'll be a good experience to see if I can learn something from how they do things," Williams told the Herald on Sunday.
Williams, who has worked with Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Adam Scott and, most notably, 12 years with Tiger Woods, had the opportunity arrive on his doorstep through a coaching connection, and the combination with Kang has a chance to be in the mix late on Sunday.
"Danielle is a good player and once you start the tournament, you want to win, so nothing will change there," said Williams.
The new experience will be a precursor to further changes next season, with Williams parting ways with Australian Adam Scott at the end of the year.
Williams and Scott have been working together since 2011, first in a permanent, then part-time role, with Williams carrying the bag for 10 events so far this season. The duo will link up for two final events in Asia next month.
"I'm not going to caddy for Adam next year, he'll return to having a full-time caddy. He's had a job share where he's had two caddies for the last two seasons but he wants to return to one caddy next season.
"I'm not interested in caddying full-time any more, I've done that enough. When you get away from golf there's still plenty of things to do -- I'm pretty keen on my speedway, that takes up much of my summer time, I've got a foundation to do a bit of charity work, so always plenty to do."
Williams is still keen to caddy in 2018, but says next year could be his final season.
"I'll just take it as it comes, I'll talk to a couple of players in Asia when I'm up there, I've had a couple of guys who are interested but it just depends on which tournaments.
"[I'm] probably interested to do another season next year, it's going to be my 40th year next year, so it's sort of a personal milestone. I'd be pretty happy to probably do next year and then sign off, that'd be it for me."
Open field is rich in talent
The upcoming New Zealand Women's Open possesses the strongest field to hit New Zealand fairways this century.
That's the view of leading Kiwi caddy Steve Williams, who will add the tournament to his resume when he links up with American Danielle Kang at Windross Farm in Auckland.
Williams caddied for Tiger Woods when he played in the 2002 New Zealand Open at Paraparaumu Beach, and believes the women's field is stronger than that event.
"It's a good field, when Tiger was here it only had Tiger and a couple of other players that were in the top 50 in the world, I would think this would be right up there with the World Cup they held at Gulf Harbour."
The 1998 World Cup brought an impressive depth of talent to these shores, with 12 of the world's top 100 golfers taking part, but just two in the top 50 - Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam.
The Women's Open has six of the world's top 50 players attending, and a further five ranked between 50 and 100.
Williams believes the stature of the event - and the popularity of Lydia Ko - could have notable benefits for golf in New Zealand.
"There wouldn't be this event without Lydia."
"You'll get a lot of female juniors watching the tournament, and seeing what it's like to play at that level and what fun it can be a professional golfer - so it should have a good impact."