Support for Stevie: Scott backs his bagman
Sunday, November 6, 2011
SHANGHAI – Can Adam Scott afford to keep Steve Williams on the bag after his caddie’s latest faux pas?
Scott maintained steadfast support for his bagman, a day after Williams’ comments about Tiger Woods made front-page news around the globe.
After Williams apologized via his website for a racially charged dig at Tiger Woods, Scott approved of his caddie’s mea culpa. “He did the right thing,” Scott said here at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where he is in third place after three rounds.
But will Williams’ apology be enough?
The most recent trouble stemmed from comments that Williams made at a caddie roast Friday evening, when he received the award for “Celebration of the Year” by a caddie for his victory with Scott at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“It was my aim to shove it right up that black a------,” Williams said in his acceptance speech, taking aim at Woods, who won 13 of his 14 major championships with the Kiwi on his bag. The account was relayed by attendees to British reporters, who broke the story early Saturday.
Players here have been quick not to question Scott or his actions, recognizing that their relationship with their caddies is similar to that of the Australian’s.
“Should he be sacked? I don’t know,” Graeme McDowell said. “Like I say, I hope he can resolve it. He’s a character within the game of golf, and whatever bitterness that exists between him and Tiger should be in the past by now. It’s unfortunate that it’s going to rear its head again.”
Williams’ relationship with Woods has been contentious since the caddie’s sacking in July at the AT&T National. Comments then and later at the Bridgestone have cast Williams in a bad light.
All along, Scott has stood by Williams, but to what end? Williams clearly is one of the game’s best caddies, but his controversies have put Scott in a terrible situation.
“I don’t think it should be awkward for me,” Scott said of being between Williams and Woods. “I’m the guy stuck in the middle, but I don’t really have a gripe with either guy. So it’s for them to sort out between themselves.”
Which is the larger point. Williams still has not sorted out his anger issues with Woods, and they are bleeding into his current employment with Scott and potentially jeopardizing Scott’s career.
Ernie Els called it “an awkward situation” for Scott and Williams.
“Adam just wants to have the best caddie, and he just wants to concentrate on his game,” Els said. “He’s just come through a tough time with his game. It looks like he’s got that hunger back, and he’s got the best caddie in the world on his bag. I’d just like to see them blossom.”
But can they blossom, with Williams still apparently angry at Woods?
While players have been unwilling to suggest Williams be let go, many agents have a different feeling on the subject. Many who spoke anonymously with Golfweek suggest that Scott needs to make a change, especially with two big events in his Australian homeland - the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup - in the next two weeks. They contend that Scott’s support of Williams might not be seen as appropriate.
Asked whether his sponsors might take a dim view of Williams on the bag, Scott said, “I would hope not, because I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
In the heat of the moment, Scott stood by Williams. Perhaps as the pressure increases by the media, sponsors, his agent and fans in the next two weeks, Scott might have no choice.
“Knowing Stevie, he was trying to come across as smartass,” Els said. “But it backfired on him. You can’t say that stuff.”
The question now: Can one of the game’s most prominent caddies “say that stuff” and keep his job? The clock is ticking.