Fore! Tiger Woods‘ former caddie Steve Williams claims in his new memoir, Out of The Rough, that his former boss treated him poorly during their 12 years together on the green — and during Woods’ high-profile sex scandal in 2009.
Williams, 51, served as Woods’ caddie at the height of the golf pro’s career from 1999 to 2011, and was fired over the phone. New Zealand’s Stuff magazine excerpted several lengthy excerpts from the tome, which includes some damning behind-the-scenes scoops about Woods.
“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,” Williams wrote. “I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club — it was like I was his slave. The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt. Tiger listened to what I had to say, the air was cleared and we got on with it – his goal was to be the best player in history and my goal was to keep working as best I could to help make that happen.”
Several sports sites reported that Williams made 10 to possibly 15 percent of Woods’ record-breaking earnings. During their time together, the golf champion reportedly earned more than $88 million.
Woods’ conduct on the course wasn’t the only issue Williams detailed in the book. The caddie also knew something was up with his longtime boss on the final day of the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009 — the very same day Woods’ sex scandal broke.
“Tiger looked the same — I didn’t notice anything unusual about him — except he wasn’t ready to play golf and seemed a bit preoccupied,” Williams wrote in his book. “No sooner had Tiger fulfilled his media obligations than he fled to the airport in a chopper, leaving me to head back to the hotel on my own. As I was driving, I got a text from [Woods’ sports agent] Mark Steinberg, which read, ‘There is a story coming out tomorrow. Absolutely no truth to it. Don’t speak to anybody.’” (Woods eventually fessed up to cheating on his wife, Elin Nordegren, with multiple women, and the parents of two divorced in 2010 after six years of marriage.)
Williams, who claimed he knew nothing about Woods’ many mistresses, said Woods’ camp refused to defend him during that time period. “At one stage, one of the many women who claimed to be a mistress said she’d met me when I was with Tiger in Las Vegas — that got broadcast on radio in New Zealand and picked up in the papers,” he recalled of the supposed lie. “It was despicable reporting. I was giving my side of the story but no one seemed to care and comments like that from some bimbo on the other side of the world trying to get her 15 minutes of fame made me look like a fool. I begged Tiger’s team to say something in my defense, but they wouldn’t.”
Things were worse at home. “People in my local community would come up to me at the shops and call me a liar to my face, and ask, ‘What are you doing with him?'” he recalled. “I repeatedly asked for Tiger’s management to release a statement that would clear me of any involvement in this lurid news. They simply wouldn’t do it because there were others in his group who knew exactly what was going on, and management felt they couldn’t single out one person as innocent. Angry, frustrated and hung out to dry, I was also in limbo about when I would next work . . . Quitting wasn’t an option as I felt incredibly loyal to Tiger — this was the toughest time of his life and I wasn’t going to ditch him. The uncertainty came from the total lack of communication from Tiger’s team. It didn’t bother me that he hadn’t said anything because he had told me he’d be in touch when he was ready — though admittedly that was an email and I’d rather have had a phone call . . . All I got was silence.”
Their relationship ended in 2011. Williams first detailed their estrangement in June 2014 to Golf Digest. “The way Tiger fired me in 2011 was disappointing. He told me about it over the phone. Not hearing it from him face-to-face really bothered me. The suddenness of it, the way it was done, him coming out of the hardest time in his life and me having been loyal to him for so many years, was worth some consideration,” Williams told the mag at the time. “Caddies get fired all the time—hey, Greg fired me in 1989 — but when you have what you believe is a friendship, it’s going to leave a mark.”
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