Drama continues after Adam Scott's win
AKRON, Ohio -- Golf fans in many ways have grown weary of the Tiger Woods story, at least as it pertains to all the drama of late.
And yet, they seem acutely aware of the soap opera surrounding his former caddie, made famous through their long winning relationship and who obviously took great glee Sunday by carrying the bag of another victorious golfer, Adam Scott.
How else do you explain some of the comments flowing from the gallery at Firestone Country Club, where Scott put on an impressive performance in claiming his eighth PGA Tour title and Williams proclaimed it the best week of his caddying life?
Spectators chanted Williams' name throughout the back nine as Scott, 31, shot 65 to claim the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "Way to call his bluff, Stevie!" one fan yelled. "How do you like him now, Tiger?" said another.
It was a surreal scene, made even more so by the fact Williams afterward talked more to the assembled media than in the past 12 years combined, all but rubbing the victory in Woods' face and overshadowing the win by his new boss.
"I've been caddying for 33 years and I've never had a bigger win," Williams said.
Really? None of the 13 majors with Woods were bigger? The Tiger Slam? The 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines?
Williams, 47, said he now has 145 victories as a caddie, and it was clear he was stoked. "It's the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that," he said.
Clearly bitterness remains from the way he parted ways with Woods, who dismissed Williams following the AT&T National on July 3, a timeline Williams disputes.
"I was absolutely shocked that I got the boot to be honest with you," Williams said. "I've caddied for the guy for 11 years, I've been incredibly loyal to the guy and I got short shrifted. Very disappointed."
Williams said he was told of his dismissal by phone sometime after asking Woods for permission to caddie for Scott at the U.S. Open in June. Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, said in a phone interview on Sunday night that Williams' version was not true.
"Tiger's duties to the AT&T National were complete on Wednesday of that week," Steinberg said. "He went there specifically on that Sunday to talk to Steve in person. He did it after everything was concluded that day."
Steinberg expressed regret that Williams chose the aftermath of a big victory for Scott to go so public with his feelings, and he has a point. In a strange way, Williams became a bigger deal than Scott -- the one who hit the clutch shots and holed the putts to defeat Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald by four strokes.
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For Scott, this victory is huge, a culmination of immense work this year with a long putter that he put into play due to his frustration in recent years on the greens. Scott has been around for more than a decade, and his swing, ironically, was often compared to Woods' when both players worked with swing instructor Butch Harmon.
Scott's victory at the 2004 Players Championship at just 23 was viewed as a step toward stardom, and while he has 19 worldwide victories, he had never really been a factor in a major championship until tying for second at this year's Masters.
"I'd like to help Adam get across the line and win a major championship," Williams said.
Scott has been nothing but complimentary toward Williams, crediting him with providing a boost of confidence and leadership since they began working together. He has dealt patiently with all the Tiger questions. And he seemed to have no problem with all the attention Williams received.
"Obviously he's a popular guy around here having won now eight times," Scott said, noting the seven previous victories at Firestone. "They appreciate him a lot. And he's a bit of a character. It was fun to get support, whether it's for me or him, I don't care, it's the right team."
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Williams, amazingly, has come off as the sympathetic figure. Truth be told, had Woods dismissed him at the beginning of the year, or at the end of this season, he likely would have been lauded. Williams has never been the most popular figure, mostly because of his bullish ways between the ropes and his sometimes untoward behavior toward spectators and media.
But the guy gets results, having worked for the likes of Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd. And there is a reason Woods kept him in his employ for so long. But the perceived timing of the split, and the fact Williams was clearly irritated by it, did Woods no favors.
In his first tournament back after a three-month break due to his injuries, Woods tied for 37th and made $58,500. Those who love this tawdry tale are reveling in the fact Williams' commission from a $1.4 million payday for Scott was likely $140,000.
When it was over, Williams removed the flag from the pin on the 18th hole as a customary keepsake and smiled and grinned to the crowd, who cheered him some more.
It was, as Williams said, the 145th victory of his caddie career.
But the first time in seemingly forever that he walked away as the good guy.
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.