Making millions upon millions of dollars for essentially handing golf clubs to Tiger Woods wasn’t enough for Steve Williams.
On Wednesday, the always-polarizing Woods rocked the golf world when he announced -- via his website -- that he and longtime caddy, Williams, would part ways. The pair’s relationship dated back to 1999 when Woods fired Mike Cowan and replaced him with Williams a mere few weeks before The Masters. From that point on, the duo would come together to form one of the best teams in golfing lore.
Shortly after finding out that he would no longer serve as Woods’ caddy, Williams appeared on LiveSPORT radio in New Zealand and offered the following quotes (as transcribed by The Big Lead):
“I’m just a little disappointed in the timing of it, given the circumstances of the past 18 months and what we’ve been working through. So the timing of it is a little disappointing.”
“I think when you’re great friends with somebody and a situation like this occurs you obviously lose some kind of respect, and that sort of respect has to be gained back through time.
“Given my loyalty, and the way I am, the timing of it is pretty poor really. I’ve stood by this guy through thick and thin and the timing of it is very poor from my perspective.”
“The guys are not intimidated by him anymore because he has played so poorly for so long and they know he’s not mentally as strong as he used to be.”
While Williams obviously has grounds to be shaken and mildly irritated by the timing of his firing, the lack of gratitude shown towards a man who made him a star is mind-boggling. Cork Gaines at Business Insider put things in perspective in his latest piece, noting the following regarding Williams’ likely earnings over the last 12 years:
Since 1999, Tiger's earnings have totaled $88.3 million with Williams standing nearby. Typically, a PGA caddy earns ten percent of a player's winnings. That means Williams has taken home more than $8.8 million in 12 years (you can see the entire breakdown below). Not bad for guessing yardage and screaming at fans with cameras.
For comparison, last year on the PGA Tour, 172 golfers played in at least 20 tournaments. Those golfers averaged $1.24 million in earnings. If each of those golfers used one caddy for the entire season, that would mean those caddies averaged a $124,000 cut for the year. Not terrible. But that is a different lifestyle than Williams is probably used to.
Williams has made more in the last 12 years with Tiger than most caddies will make in their entire careers. He might be upset with Tiger, but he also has 8.8 million reasons to be grateful.
At this point, it’s clear that Woods needed some sort of change. Whatever the logic behind booting Williams was for the once-mighty golfer, it was a move that felt right for him. He doesn’t owe anyone any explanations, he didn’t mishandle the move and frankly, Williams owes a lot more to Woods for making life as good as it has been than vice versa.
You never know what you have until it’s gone, though. Williams is in for a rude awakening over the next few years.