The Me-Me caddie

By Jason SobelAugust 8, 2011, 5:42 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Four years ago, I spent a week caddying on the Nationwide Tour, which essentially makes me an expert on all things bag-toting.

I'll spare you the gory details, other than to mention that my man Roland Thatcher and I were on the leaderboard at one point, only to find ourselves slamming the trunk on Friday evening after missing the cut.

Even so, I learned plenty that week. Simple math isn't so simple. Never leave your player's golf bag in a place where it can double as a target.

And two guys without a weekend tee time can consume an awful lot of pizza and beer while watching multiple football games.

I gleaned some knowledge from my fellow loopers that week, too. Their main piece of collective advice was that I try to refrain from becoming one of the We-He caddies. You know the type. They sound like this: 'We started out with a birdie on the first, but he made a bogey. We battled back, then he made some mistakes late in the round.'

We-He caddies have been around since professionals started playing the game for money, but for perhaps the first time in the history of the profession, we witnessed a Me-Me caddie Sunday at the conclusion of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

For the four people around the world who still don't know the history behind the story, here's the par-3 version: Steve Williams caddied for Tiger Woods for 12 years. They won 13 majors together. While Woods was injured this summer, Williams started working for Adam Scott. Woods didn't like that and fired him. So Williams started working for Scott full-time.

It was golf's equivalent of a mob boss ordering his consigliere whacked, only to watch him get saved by another family.

There was quite a role-reversal for Williams' image, too. Long known as the sullen, obtuse bodyguard for Woods who never saw a camera he didn't want to heave into a water hazard, the caddie transformed into a sympathetic figure overnight. He became just another poor schlub whose company decided to pursue other options and summarily dismissed him from his assignment. He was one of us.

The support for Williams from the Firestone Country Club galleries was tangible throughout the week, but never more so than on the final hole.

With a three-stroke lead, he watched his man Scott pipe a tee shot into the fairway and the two began their victory march to the green.

Meanwhile, the swelling, frenzied crowd grew louder and louder. The fans weren't cheering for Scott, though. It's not that they were rooting against him; it's that nearly all audible accolades were foisted upon the man carrying the bag. A former bully from the dark side, Williams was for the first time being accepted as a beloved character.

In an unprecedented bit of hilarity, before Scott made a clinching 5-foot birdie putt, the caddie had to silence the gallery from yelling for himself. When the ball dropped into the bottom of the cup, Williams pumped his fist a celebratory gesture not unlike that of his former employer and hugged his player.

Redemption. Vindication.

Within seconds, CBS commentator David Feherty sidled up to Williams, put the microphone to his lips and asked what this win meant to him.

“I’ve been caddying for 33 years and this has been the best week of my life,” said Williams, who has also caddied for Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Peter Thomson and Ian Baker-Finch. “I’m not joking. I’m never, ever going to forget this week. It’s the greatest week of my life.”

Uh-oh. The invention of the Me-Me caddie.

He talked about his 33-year caddying career. About his record as a front-runner. Even offered a comparison with his moonlighting gig as a race-car driver.

During the short interview, though, Williams never showed any humility for his role in the victory. He never acknowledged the irony in a caddie getting more attention than the player. And most importantly, he never mentioned Scott. Didn't say he was thankful for the opportunity to work with him nor did he commend him for such stellar play.

Instead, Williams ensured that he would be the biggest story on this day, rather than deflecting all glory to the man who finished atop the leaderboard.

The result was that the sheer delight from the hordes of fans screaming his name on the course never transcended to those watching at home on television. In person, Williams was a conquering hero. In living rooms and 19th holes around the world, he was an arrogant scene-stealer, reveling in the attention and taking all the credit for his player's victory.

Caddies often garner too much credit for a player's success and shoulder too much blame for the failures. That's also a fitting metaphor for how Williams' scenario unfolded. Those behind the ropes heaped too much praise on him for the victory; those watching on TV issued too much blame for his lack of grace.

The truth rests somewhere in between. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Scott's first title in more than a year coincided with Williams' first week as a full-time employee. Nor should it be ignored that the caddie used this victory as a forum to promote his own agenda, which can be summarized thusly: 'I don't need you, Tiger.'

The fact that general reaction in the hours after what Williams referred to as 'my 145th victory' has been negative speaks to the power of media and common sentiment toward the role of caddie.

More than anything else, though, it's about Steve Williams and how the Me-Me caddie will never win friends and influence people.

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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 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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.