Bagman should stay in the background
As Adam Scott completed the final few holes of his maiden WGC win at Firestone yesterday, caddie Steve Williams loomed large, talking his man round the final bend with authority and a calm assuredness.
Scott’s round was near perfect, he never looked troubled and putted with absolute belief, save for an irrelevant short birdie miss at the 17th.
He turned a one-shot lead into a four shot win with a 65, the lowest round of the day, equalled only by Lee Westwood and Aaron Baddeley.
Since coming on the scene 13 years ago, Scott has not delivered the sort of success his talent merited, so last night it was hard to discount the Williams factor.
In those closing holes, Tiger Woods’s former caddie – a 13-time Major winner with the world’s greatest player – delivered the sort of details any good caddie should but the manner in which he did it appeared to imbue Scott with confidence.
Once he’d said his piece, he stepped back from each approach before giving a final reassuring nod and Scott carried out his instructions to perfection, particularly at the final hole on which he almost found the cup.
Scott’s reaction to that shot seemed almost one of surprise and he turned to Williams and shared the sort of moment that had typified the latter’s hugely successful tenure on Woods’s bag before he was sacked in July – high fives, fist pumps and the like.
So, it would be naïve to rule out the impact Williams had on Scott’s game, given the fact it was the Australian’s biggest career win just weeks after teaming up with the Kiwi.
However, it was Scott who carded a 62, a 70, a 66 and a 65. It was he who made the shots and sank the putts, making Williams’s self-congratulatory chat with David Feherty afterwards a little hard to stomach.
Whatever happened between Tiger and Williams should no longer be of any consequence, especially in the immediate aftermath of Scott’s win, yet Williams turned the interview into one giant ‘I told you so’, by hailing the win has the best ‘he’ has ever had.
“Honestly that’s the best week of my life,” he said. “I’ve caddied for 33 years and 145 wins and that’s the best win I’ve ever had. The fans have been unbelievable. It’s the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that.”
He went on to tell the audience how he likes to lead from the front. He does it in Speedway Racing, his other passion, and he does it in golf. Well, except that he doesn’t do it in golf. The guy hitting the ball does.
There was one cursory mention of the real victor but apart from that it was charmless narcissisism from the Kiwi who, lest we forget, was at one stage (and may still be) his country’s wealthiest sportsman because he worked with Woods.
Williams should remember that good people in sport get sacked all the time. Just ask Bob Torrance, the veteran coach Pádraig Harrington let go last month. It’s the nature of the beast. He should also bear in mind that it’s a lot easier to lead from the front when Raymond Floyd, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott are the guys actually playing the shots.
When Williams was on Woods’s bag, he used to steadfastly refuse to do ‘media’, presumably under his bosses orders. Maybe that’s the one thing he should hold on to from their time together, even if he does want to dismiss the rest.