WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Tiger Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams has described his anger and frustration at being “hung out to dry” by Woods’ management when the golfer’s infidelities were revealed in 2009, and says he was sometimes treated as a “slave” on the course.
A New Zealand newspaper on Sunday published a chapter of Williams’ tell-all book “Out of the Rough” in which the New Zealand-born caddie describes his reaction on learning of Woods’ extramarital affairs. Williams writes that he didn’t hear from his close friend Woods for four months as the golfer’s marriage, career and reputation fell apart.
While Williams says he was angry to learn Woods had cheated on his wife Elin Nordegren, “he was still a friend in trouble and I was going to stick by him. I did that even though people were accusing me of being an enabler, an accomplice, saying I was lying when I stated clearly that I knew nothing about this.”
Williams says his life became “absolutely miserable” as details of Woods’ behavior emerged and people suspected he had been aware of, or event played some part in Woods’ affairs.
“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?'” Williams wrote. “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.”
Williams said he didn’t consider quitting as Woods’ caddie “as I felt incredibly loyal to Tiger — this was the toughest time of his life and I wasn’t going to ditch him.”
“Tiger finally rang me on March 23 (2010). 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.”Williams said that before resuming his 13-year association with Woods he met with the golfer and presented a list of demands.
“I wanted him to prove to me he could change his behavior and show me — and the game of golf — more respect,” he said.
Williams said he often felt angry when Woods “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,” he wrote. “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.”