Woods Caddie Speaks Out

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenThe caddie for Tiger Woods said he was wrong to kick over a news photographer's camera during the U.S. Open, blaming his snap decision on hearing too many clicks from too many cameras at the wrong time.
'I lost my cool,' Steve Williams said Thursday in a telephone interview from the Western Open, where Woods is playing this week. 'I shouldn't have done that.'
But he offered no apologies for taking a camera away from a fan at Shinnecock Hills, and no guarantee that he wouldn't do that again.
'I'm not being a bully,' Williams said. 'I'm just doing what I have to do to make our jobs easier.'
Woods has come under intense scrutiny over the last four months, especially when he failed to contend at the Masters and U.S. Open to extend his streak to eight majors without winning.
Much of the attention is built around his split two years ago from coach Butch Harmon, who said during the U.S. Open that Woods' swing is nowhere close to where it was during his record-breaking 2000 season.
Williams said more photographers are coming onto the practice range to try to shoot Woods' swing sequence, making it difficult for them to practice.
Photographers clicked four times during his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final practice round at Shinnecock, causing Woods to pick up his ball and curse them under his breath.
It all boiled over in the second round at the U.S. Open, when Williams walked across the 10th tee and kicked the lens of photographer John Roca from the New York Daily News.
In the final round, Williams spotted a man taking pictures behind the second tee. He walked into the crowd and took the camera, which belonged to an off-duty police officer.
'I don't regret taking the camera off the guy,' Williams said. 'I don't know how he got it on the grounds. If all the security and marshals were doing their job, it wouldn't happen. I'm not sorry about that.'
Golf prohibits fans from bringing cameras onto the course once a tournament begins. However, it happens and several incidents led to Williams' goon-like tactics at Shinnecock.
During the final round of the Memorial in late May, Williams placed the golf bag in front of a special camera designed to analyze swings. At the U.S. Open, he spotted a photographer taking pictures of Woods' swing on the practice range and positioned himself and his bag in front of the camera.
'We get to the practice tee on Friday and there must be 50 to 70 people sitting not far behind us, and this guy has a swing-sequence camera and I go over and asked him to refrain while we're practicing,' Williams said. 'So we go to the 10th hole for the first tee shot. Tiger gets on the tee, the guy announces his name and he's standing behind the ball in his pre-shot routine. He's just about to step to the ball and the camera goes off.'
Williams said he had no problem with the national photographers who routinely cover tournament golf.
'They do their job 100 percent properly,' he said. 'It's the people that come every now and then, to a tournament like the U.S. Open, that are difficult to deal with.'
Woods has backed up his caddie, saying recently that he 'went too far.' But he urged tournament officials to take a tougher stand on fans with cameras and news photographers who click at the wrong time.
'Hey, it happened,' Woods said Wednesday. 'Steve felt bad for what he did. He got a little frustrated, and he did something he probably shouldn't have done.'
Williams is a no-nonsense caddie from New Zealand who previously worked for Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman. He has been on Woods' bag for five years and their relationship is strong; he rarely mingles with anyone else - tournament officials, fans, the media. He is, however, prone to making rash decisions when it comes to protecting his boss.
Two years ago at the Skins Game, a photographer who was not credentialed took a picture while standing some 20 feet behind Woods as he played a bunker shot. It cost Woods the final skin, and Williams took the law - not to mention the lens - into his own hands.
He took the man's camera and dropped it on a steep bank, allowing it to roll into a pond. Williams was fined by the PGA Tour, and Woods said he gladly paid the unspecified amount.
Commissioner Tim Finchem told reporters in Chicago earlier this week that the tour has upgraded its security, and he encouraged players and caddies to 'use that route.'
'Under certain circumstances, it's understandable that a player or caddie takes matter into his own hands,' Finchem said. 'If there's 10 situations, they'll be handled 10 different ways. And some of those will be ways which the public or the media look at it and say, 'This is inappropriate.''
Williams said the negative press doesn't bother him.
'Look, you're trying to do the best job you can for your player,' he said. 'Sometimes I might overreact. But all these people making comments, how about they spend a week with us?'
He heard some heckling during the pro-am round Wednesday at the Western Open.
'Some guy was taking a photo of Tiger and said, 'Hey, Steve, can I get your photo? Oh, I forgot, you don't like cameras. I should hide this,'' Williams said. 'I actually thought that was quite funny.'
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    Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

    Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

    Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

    “It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

    No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

    Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

    “Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

    “Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

    A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

    “But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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    Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

    It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Purse: $6 million

    Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

    Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

    Notables in the field

    Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Henrik Stenson

    • Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

    • Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

    Sergio Garcia

    • Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

    • Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

    Webb Simpson

    • Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

    • 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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    Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

    Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

    Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

    Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    "I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

    But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

    After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

    "What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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    McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

    For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

    The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

    McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

    By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

    But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

    Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.