Steve Williams Takes Matters Into His Own Hands

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2002, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- With $200,000 on the line, Tiger Woods dug his feet in the bunker, waggled his sand wedge over the ball and was at the top of his swing when the silence was pierced by a nerve-racking noise he has come to despise.
 
Click!
 
Even more outrageous was the sound that followed.
 
Splash!
 
Not long after someone took a premature picture of Woods at the Skins Game, caddie Steve Williams took the law -- or the lens, in this case -- into his own hands and deposited the camera in the pond surrounding the 18th green at Landmark Golf Club.
 
The question is: Who crossed the line?
 
Does a caddie have the right to destroy someone's property?
 
'Just because he's Tiger Woods' caddie doesn't give him the right to do that,' Vijay Singh said. 'It may have been spur of the moment, but I cannot say it was good what he did. If my caddie did that, I'd make him fish it out of the lake.'
 
Did the fan get what he deserved?
 
No one knew who the guy was, only that he was not authorized to have a camera or be stationed inside the ropes. Policies make it abundantly clear that cameras are not allowed once the tournament starts, although that has never stopped anyone before.
 
'Did Stevie throw the camera away? I've been wanting to do that for a long time,' Davis Love III said. 'I've taken them away from people, but I haven't smashed one or thrown one yet. I think it's fair.'
 
It was not clear whether Williams would be fined or ordered to reimburse the man, if he ever comes forward. Photojournalists who saw the camera said it was worth about $7,000.
 
Any fine -- and Woods said he expects one -- is assessed to the player, who then passes it along to the caddie. But not this time.
 
Woods said he would pick up the tab.
 
This is not the first time Woods has defended his Kiwi caddie.
 
During the 'Showdown at Sherwood' three years ago, a PGA Tour official told Williams he could not wear shorts, even though the temperature was pushing 90 degrees. When Williams refused to change, the official told the caddie he would no longer work on the PGA Tour.
 
'Guess I'll be playing in Europe next year,' Woods said, and that was the end of that.
 
In the case of the camera, Woods had reason to stand by his man.
 
He had to back off twice because of cameras on the opening hole at the British Open, where Woods was going for the third leg of the Grand Slam. An early click on the final hole in Ireland cost him a chance at his first bogey-free tournament. There were so many cameras in Germany that Woods felt as if he was model on a runway.
 
And those are just a few examples from this year.
 
'He backs off a lot more than you realize,' Mark O'Meara said.
 
The national photojournalists are guilty by association. The early clicks almost always come from those who don't cover golf, such as the Japanese photographer who got Woods on the first fairway at Muirfield and was puzzled when he was asked to leave.
 
The real problem stems from fans who come to the course with cameras, from marshals who spend more time watching golf than policing the crowds, and from tour officials who fail to enforce their policies.
 
'We've had poor camera control on the PGA Tour, and it's jeopardizing the integrity of the championship,' said Phil Mickelson.

That's not to say the answer is tossing cameras into the water.
 
'I don't think I would have handled it that way,' Mickelson said. 'But I can understand the frustration he must have felt. I don't have a problem with it.'
 
Woods is not the only victim of early clicks, but no one hears more. He still remembers the camera that clicked behind him as he teed off on the 18th hole at the 1997 Masters, a drive that wound up 60 yards left of the fairway.
 
'Thank God I had a big enough cushion,' said Woods, who was leading by 12 shots and made par to set the Masters scoring record.
 
Colin Montgomerie is known for his rabbit ears, whether it's a camera or an unruly fan, and even he defers to Woods when it comes to distractions on the course.
 
'Who am I to complain?' Monty said. 'He puts up with 20 times more than anyone else, and he does it so well. Every time I play with him, he has to back off. Look at the Open this year. Cameras were all over him.'
 
There weren't that many at the Skins game, but there was one too many.
 
Click!
 
'Not in my swing!' Woods yelled, cursing and glaring as his ball ran 15 feet by the hole.
 
That's when Williams snapped.
 
'I walked over to him and grabbed the camera,' Williams said.
 
'He put up a little resistance, but not much.'
 
Was Williams wrong?
 
'They put up with a lot, an awful lot,' Montgomerie said. 'I suppose it would be a shame if his late great aunt had been on the film, as well.'

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.