DALLAS – There’s a familiar face behind the caddie bib this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Longtime looper Steve Williams, he of the 14 major titles from work with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, is back to work this week as a caddie for Australian Aaron Baddeley. But Williams, who has also caddied in recent years for LPGA stars Lydia Ko and Danielle Kang, will soon head back into semi-retirement.
Baddeley explained that he’ll have Williams on the bag only for this week’s event and next week’s Fort Worth Invitational before returning the bag to John Limanti, who has caddied for Baddeley since the 2016 season.
“We’ve been friends for a while, and he sort of got in touch with us over the last year about working just a couple weeks just to sort of show me some of the stuff that he’s learned over his career,” Baddeley said. “We sort of figured out that these were the two really good weeks for him to come out.”
The caddie switch, albeit temporary, comes as Baddeley looks to turn around a mediocre season. His two-year exemption for winning the 2016 Barbasol Championship ends in August, and he’s currently No. 117 in the season-long points race without a top-10 finish since November.
According to Baddeley, Williams was “very upfront” about the fact that he’s not looking to return on a full-time basis, and both Limanti and Baddeley’s coach were on board with the decision to make the two-week switch.
“John’s my man. I love John being on the bag, and he’s very good at what he does,” Baddeley said. “But we all thought like, ‘Hey, he’s done it for 40 years, caddied for some of the greatest players in the game. Won lots of tournaments.’ So it’s only going to help us as a team.”
Baddeley has made his mark for years as one of the best putters on Tour, but his usually reliable blade has gone cold recently and he ranks 117th this season in strokes gained: putting. Optimistic that he has begun to turn things around the greens, Baddeley hopes Williams can help out with some of the intangibles during their time together in the Lone Star State.
“There could be a couple things to think about slightly differently, or just how you go about playing the golf course that we can just tweak slightly,” Baddeley said. “You turn a 72 into a 68, or a 68 into a 64. As you know, golf’s such a fine line, and if you can save one or two shots a day, at the end of the week that’s just massive.”