Caddy ex­poses Tiger in new book

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY — Caddy Steve Wil­liams has bro­ken his si­lence for the first time since the Tiger Woods sex scan­dal, re­veal­ing his former boss also had a bad tem­per, threw clubs and would spit at the hole if he missed a putt.

In his tell-all book Out of the Rough writ­ten with Auck­land jour­nal­ist Michael Don­ald­son, and which went on sale on Mon­day, Wil­liams says both Woods and his man­ager Mark Stein­berg cut off all com­mu­ni­ca­tion with him for four months af­ter news of Woods’ af­fair with Rachel Uchi­tel broke. Wil­liams claims he and his fam­ily were ha­rassed by me­dia and mem­bers of the pub­lic by as­so­ci­a­tion be­cause Stein­berg re­fused to put out a state­ment clear­ing him of any in­volve­ment in the scan­dal.

Wil­liams cad­died for Woods for 13 years win­ning 13 ma­jor cham­pi­onships to­gether and at­tend­ing each other’s wed­dings be­fore their high pro­file split in 2011. Their wives Kirsty and Elin were close with Kirsty re­veal­ing in the book the anger and blame di­rected at her hus­band.

Reads Out of the Rough: I knocked on Tiger’s ho­tel room door as ar­ranged. It was Sun­day, Novem­ber 15, 2009 and we were in Mel­bourne. I was call­ing by to col­lect his gear ahead of the fi­nal round of the Aus­tralian Masters at Kingston Heath.

When­ever I stayed at the same ho­tel as Tiger, he would usu­ally give me a key to his room and I’d let my­self in to pick up his golf bag. On this trip, how­ever, he brought a cou­ple of old mates with him and I wasn’t given a key. So dur­ing the week, I’d nor­mally knock on the door and walk in. But this Sun­day morn­ing the door was locked and my re­peated knocks got no re­sponse.

‘Maybe he’s in the shower or on the phone,’ I thought, and waited a few min­utes be­fore knock­ing again. Still no an­swer.

Af­ter I’d been there 10 min­utes I thought, ‘This is get­ting weird. There’s a chance we’ll be late to the golf course.’ Tiger was nor­mally so punc­tual, I fig­ured some­thing must have changed his rou­tine and won­dered if he’d al­ready gone down­stairs with­out me.

I rang se­cu­rity to see if he was wait­ing for me in the lobby. ‘No, he’s not here,’ they said. ‘We’re wait­ing for you – you’re late.’

Fi­nally, af­ter 15 min­utes – which for Tiger is like be­ing an hour late – the door opened and I im­me­di­ately knew some­thing was dif­fer­ent. He had friends there but they were dressed as if they’d re­cently come in from a night on the town. Tiger had a suite with a num­ber of bed­rooms and there was more than enough room for them all to stay, but I thought it was odd that they’d elected to go out all night and then dis­turb Tiger in the early hours of the morn­ing when he was due to play the fi­nal round of a tour­na­ment.

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. He told me there’d been a change of plan and he was pack­ing up all his gear now and would be go­ing straight to the air­port from the golf course in a he­li­copter with­out call­ing back to the ho­tel to shower and change.

Again, I thought, ‘ This is strange,’ but by now every­thing was start­ing to seem a bit weird. And be­sides, we were run­ning late. It was the first time in 10 years that Tiger had played in Aus­tralia. There was a huge amount of an­tic­i­pa­tion about it and I was ex­cited he was get­ting a chance to play at Kingston Heath, which I think is one of the best golf cour­ses in the world. Ar­chi­tec­turally, it is su­perb. The weather was per­fect, the course was per­fect, Tiger played im­pec­ca­bly and I had a great time. There were heaps of New Zealan­ders in the crowd, too – I kept hear­ing them yell out ‘kia ora’ wher­ever I went.

In many ways, I got as much of a buzz from this tour­na­ment as from win­ning a ma­jor – I’d cad­died a lot in Mel­bourne, knew my way around the place, and had spent a lot of time there when I was get­ting set up as a young cad­die. Next to hav­ing Tiger come to Para­pa­raumu, it was the clos­est thing to be­ing at home. I was de­lighted Tiger was able to win the tour­na­ment and pick up the gaudy gold coat that is the Aussie an­swer to Au­gusta’s green jacket.

But the joy of win­ning dis­si­pated in the strangest fash­ion. 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 Mark Stein­berg which read, ‘There is a story com­ing out to­mor­row. Ab­so­lutely no truth to it. Don’t speak to any­body.’

In the back of my mind, one thought of­ten re­played, over and over, with­out an an­swer: What did Tiger do with him­self to get rid of the stress that built up in his life? He loved the gym work and, be­fore he got in­jured, the Navy Seals train­ing. I fig­ured that ad­dic­tion to the gym was where he got rid of many of his frus­tra­tions. And when I say ad­dic­tion, I mean just that: year by year he got more and more hooked on work­ing out.

When you live so in­tensely in the pub­lic eye, you surely have to have some­thing else away from the spot­light that gives you plea­sure – and it turns out I was wrong about the gym. The one ques­tion I’m now reg­u­larly landed with is: How could you not know about Tiger’s mul­ti­tude of mis­tresses? It’s a valid ques­tion – it’s one I would ask my­self if a scan­dal of Tiger-like pro­por­tions hap­pened to an­other caddy’s boss. How could I spend so much time with him and not have an inkling this was go­ing on? The an­swer, in a round­about way, is that Elin didn’t know either. Only a hand­ful of his old­est bud­dies ac­tu­ally had any idea this was go­ing on. I didn’t know be­cause Tiger didn’t dare tell me. We had such a strong bond and work­ing re­la­tion­ship that there was no way he could let me in on what was hap­pen­ing – he knew my val­ues and that I would have zero tol­er­ance for that kind of be­hav­iour. I would have told him straight away that I con­demned that kind of ac­tiv­ity and, un­less he stopped, there would be no con­ver­sa­tion – that would be the end of us.

On top of that, Kirsty and Elin had be­come close friends and Tiger would have been aware of that as well. When [Tiger’s man­ager] Mark Stein­berg sent me that text fol­low­ing the Aus­tralian Masters, I had no idea what to ex­pect. When I first got back to New Zealand, there was noth­ing go­ing on.

The story be­ing chased by the Na­tional En­quirer about an al­leged af­fair with Rachel Uchi­tel – who had been with him in Mel­bourne – was still de­vel­op­ing. Stein­berg’s warn­ing to say noth­ing wasn’t a prob­lem be- cause no one was ask­ing.

That all changed once Tiger slowcrashed his SUV into the fire hy­drant just out­side his house on Thanks­giv­ing night. He was flee­ing an an­gry Elin, while dosed up on sleep­ing tablets, af­ter she dis­cov­ered he had been cheat­ing on her. Be­fore long, my phone wouldn’t stop ring­ing.

I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber what I was do­ing when I heard he’d been in­volved in an ac­ci­dent – I was in a pad­dock slash­ing the grass and lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio through head­phones. I knew only what ev­ery­one else knew at that stage: that Tiger Woods had been in­volved in a car ac­ci­dent close to his home but the de­tails were sketchy.

Any story in­volv­ing Tiger got blown out of pro­por­tion, so I was happy to wait for more de­tails. When later re­ports said there were no se­ri­ous in­juries, I re­laxed and waited to hear from him. Tiger and I had been reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tors and I fig­ured he would con­tact me soon enough. A few days later, in late Novem­ber, he emailed to say that he was in a spot of bother and would be in touch. I didn’t hear from him again for four months.

Peo­ple in my lo­cal com­mu­nity would front up to me at the shops and call me a liar to my face, and ask, ‘What are you do­ing with him?’

Tiger had taken an in­def­i­nite break from golf and I had no idea when he’d be back – or if I’d be work­ing for him again. 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. But I think Mark Stein­berg, his man­ager, or one of his lack­eys could have been more forth­com­ing and more un­der­stand­ing of my sit­u­a­tion. All I got was si­lence.

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. 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 defence, but they wouldn’t.

We took a fam­ily hol­i­day to Aus­tralia’s Gold Coast in Fe­bru­ary, stay­ing in an apart­ment right on the beach. One morn­ing, Jett and I walked down to the beach for a swim – I was in my board shorts only, no T-shirt. Sud­denly, there’s a reporter and pho­tog­ra­pher there want­ing a com­ment on the tele­vised state­ment Tiger was about to give. That’s how far this me­dia ma­chine was pre­pared to go – we couldn’t even take off to Aus­tralia on hol­i­day with­out be­ing hounded by the press.

I couldn’t say any­thing. I had no idea what he was go­ing to say that day any­way. The next day there’s a shot of me in the pa­per run­ning across the road with­out a shirt on – and peo­ple won­der why I would get up­set.

Tiger fi­nally rang me on March 23. He had al­ready sent me an apolo­getic email when he was in re­hab. It was heart­felt and mean­ing­ful; he was open, hon­est and re­morse­ful and it re­in­forced my think­ing that be­cause I was so straight up and had such strong val­ues, he felt he couldn’t tell me what was go­ing on with his af­fairs.

It was good to ac­tu­ally hear his voice over the phone. I told him I was sorry to hear what he’d been go­ing through and he was again apolo­getic to me. I didn’t have any sym­pa­thy for him over what he’d done. I be­lieve you’re in charge of your own ac­tions and I have no sym­pa­thy for peo­ple who get ad­dicted to drugs or gambling or sex. Peo­ple make choices in their lives and he had cho­sen to do this. But I did have sym­pa­thy for the way he’d had to suf­fer in front of the world when oth­ers would have been able to sort out their mess in pri­vate. I also told him that be­fore I came back to work we had to sit down and have a long chat as there were some home truths I needed to say face to face. There was no ques­tion in my mind that our re­la­tion­ship – and his re­la­tion­ship with the game of golf – was go­ing to be dif­fer­ent when we got back to­gether for the Masters in two weeks’ time.

Through this pe­riod, there was one per­son who was in­cred­i­bly help­ful to me – former All Blacks rugby coach Lau­rie Mains. Lau­rie was one of those peo­ple I’d met along the way – he’s a big golf fan, was a big Tiger fan – and we had struck up a friend­ship. He’d had ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with rugby play­ers who had been in sticky sit­u­a­tions and was a great per­son to talk to about what was go­ing on. When I told him I wanted to have it out with Tiger face to face, he ad­vised me to list the gripes I needed to get off my chest and not to leave the ta­ble un­til I’d said ev­ery word I’d writ­ten down.

The list was long – there was a lot I needed to say and it was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to tell my boss he had to pull his head in. But I’d done it be­fore and I would do it again be­fore I re­tired. I ex­plained to him what had hap­pened in New Zealand and how fu­ri­ous I was at be­ing dragged through the wringer over a scan­dal I had noth­ing to do with. He needed to know how dif­fi­cult that was for me and my fam­ily.

I told him it was some­thing that could have been avoided and how bit­terly dis­ap­pointed I was at his peo­ple for their to­tal lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­will­ing­ness to put out a state­ment say­ing I had noth­ing to do with it. I was adamant that some of his be­hav­iour on the course had to change. He was well known for his bad tem­per and, while that wasn’t pleas­ant to wit­ness, you could live with it be­cause it ended as quickly as it started. But he had other bad habits that up­set me. I wanted him to prove to me he could change his be­hav­iour and show me – and the game of golf – more re­spect.

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. 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. —

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. 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.

Caddy Steve Wil­liams (left) and Tiger Woods

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