Caddie takes wrong turn at high road

November 9, 2011 

We're approaching the second anniversary of the great fire hydrant moment that changed Tiger Woods forever and you'd think things would have settled down by now.

Instead, the swirl continues, the latest chapter coming Friday when Steve Williams, Woods' former caddie, offered his crass observation about wanting to shove a victory, well, you know what he said.

For a guy who should have learned his lesson with the way he mishandled Adam Scott's first victory with him on the bag, Stevie redoubled his error by taking another public shot at Tiger.

It was off the record, Williams said. No, it wasn't. Not when you say something like that in front of a group of players, caddies and media members.

What it was, was regrettable and, potentially, career-crashing.

For whatever reason, Williams attracted an outpouring of goodwill when, after being dismissed by Woods, he was toting the clubs when Scott won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. In an unfortunate lapse of judgment on both sides, Williams was interviewed on television before the man who actually won the tournament.

Williams took a little too much joy in the moment, it seemed.

Now this.

He and Tiger talked in Australia this week, Williams apologized and they made peace, at least publicly. Woods chose the high road, saying he was hurt but Williams isn't a racist. The sting will linger, though.

Through the years covering Woods, I tended to give Williams the benefit of the doubt with his sometimes aggressive manner. He was asked to be more than a caddie. He was also a bodyguard, in the midst of a media and popularity storm. He had to be the bad cop when the moment demanded it.

Too often, he seemed to take the role one club too far.

Now he's embarrassed himself and put a stain on himself that won't soon disappear.

Will Adam Scott fire him, tired of the drama that has come with having Williams on the bag? If he were going to, he'd have probably done it already.

Should he fire him? That's Scott's call but I can't imagine Williams has any more strikes left.

He shouldn't.

Green Jr.: 704-358-5118

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