AKRON, Ohio – Wanted: an experienced caddie who has “been there before,” enjoys long hours, high pay and can keep their mouth shut. A certain New Zealander need not apply.
That’s the subtext to this week’s return of Tiger Woods to the PGA Tour, ending an 11-week layoff to heal an ailing Achilles tendon and knee. Who will replace Steve Williams on Woods’ bag, more so than what we may expect from the world’s No. 28 golfer, was a frequent question on Tuesday at Firestone.
As for his caddie this week, his longtime friend Bryon Bell, Woods made it clear that arrangement is temporary. “Have you seen his legs,” Woods joked in a 30-minute press conference.
Woods split with Williams last month after 12 years with the New Zealander, echoing a familiar theme at Firestone, “Stevie and I had an amazing run, but I just felt it was time to change things up.”
Woods said he hasn’t made a decision on who may replace Williams on his bag but he has had “a few” veteran loopers contact him about the opening as well as more than a few random applicants, “People who are not caddies out (on Tour)? A ton,” he said.
As for Williams’ comments following the duo’s split that he was “disappointed” with his former boss, Woods declined to comment.
“We had a tough conversation (at the AT&T National in early July) but we said what we needed to say to each other,” he said.