Ex-Tiger caddie Steve Williams: ‘I wanted to see if he could make history’

Steve Williams, Tiger Woods
Between 1999-2011, Tiger Woods and caddie Steve Williams teamed up for 13 major championship wins. Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Williams caddied for Tiger Woods for a historic run from 1999-2011 in which they teamed up for an incredible 13 of Woods’ 15 major titles.

The New Zealander last caddied on the PGA Tour at the end of the 2017 season for Adam Scott before calling it a career – an amazing one that covered 3+ decades with nearly 150 overall wins.

Earlier this week, Williams penned a piece for Australia’s “Players Voice,” about Tiger’s fifth Masters title on Sunday and 15th major overall.

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On the piece, Williams admits that he never watches golf on TV, “after more than four decades inside the ropes for the best players in the world, seeing all the action up-close, there’s no interest for me in watching the sport on TV,” he writes, but then admits he made an exception for the final round of the 2019 Masters.

“I woke up early like so many people in New Zealand and Australia to watch the last round of The Masters,” he wrote. “Despite how things ended between Tiger Woods and myself, I wanted to see if he could make history by winning The Masters for a fifth time – and for the first time in 14 years.”

As for when things ended, it was 2011, where Woods fired Williams after their 13-year run. At the time, Williams released this statement:

“Following the completion of the AT&T National I am no longer caddying for Tiger after he informed me that he needed to make a change. After 13 years of loyal service needless to say this came as a shock. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger’s scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time. I have had the opportunity to work of late for Australian Adam Scott and will now caddie for him on a permanent basis. Having started my caddying career with Australian great Peter Thompson and working for Greg Norman in the ’80s I am excited about the future working for another Australian.”

Scott would win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that August. Williams raised eyebrows following that win, when he told David Feherty on CBS, “I’ve caddied for 33 years — 145 wins now — and that’s the best win I’ve ever had.”

MORE: Caddie Joe LaCava details aftermath of Tiger’s Masters win

Back to the article Williams wrote, which published on Wednesday.

Williams said that what really caught his eye last Sunday was Tiger’s celebration.

“What I thought was outstanding were the number of players who lined up to congratulate him as he walked off,” he wrote. “That was a great thing to see – Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson, I lost count of how many were there – they all understand what Tiger has done for the game and what he means to the game.  And they understand that while the win is great for Tiger, it’s also great for the game.

But the celebration also showed a real change in Tiger. I was impressed with how open and friendly he seemed. We all mellow with age – that’s part of the process of getting older but this was a significantly different Tiger.”

Williams went on to attribute the change in Tiger’s demeanor – more friendly – to the passing of Arnold Palmer in 2016.

“Tiger was a huge fan of Arnold Palmer,” Williams wrote. “He loved playing Arnold’s tournament at Bay Hill – and there was always added motivation for him to win there knowing that if you walked off the final green, Arnold would be standing there waiting to congratulate you – it was very special to Tiger.

“Arnold had so much charisma and time for the fans – and deep down I think Tiger wanted to carry on Arnold’s legacy.”

To read Williams’ entire story, click here.

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