Tiger Woods’ former caddie has written an autobiography in which he criticized the golfer’s handling of his infidelity scandal and said that at times while working “it was like I was his slave.”
Steve Williams, who caddied for Woods for 13 years — including 13 major championships — before an uneasy breakup in 2011, has written a booked called “Out of the Rough” in which he chronicles his long career in the game.
An excerpt of the book was published Sunday in Williams’ native New Zealand, with the book release set for Monday.
Williams, who now works on a limited basis for Adam Scott, has said several times since Woods’ 2009 scandal erupted that he was most upset about the fact that he was linked to Woods’ marital infidelity when, in fact, he knew nothing about it.
“Only a handful of his oldest buddies actually had any idea this was going on,” Williams wrote. “I didn’t know because Tiger didn’t dare tell me. We had such a strong bond and working relationship that there was no way he could let me in on what was happening — he knew my values and that I would have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior.
“But regardless of the morality of the matter, he was still a friend in trouble and I was going to stick by him. I did that even though people were accusing me of being an enabler, an accomplice, saying I was lying when I stated clearly that I knew nothing about this. For months on end, my life was absolutely miserable.”
Woods, 39, is recovering from a second back surgery in six weeks performed on Oct. 28. His agent, Mark Steinberg — whom Williams specifically names as not helping him set the record straight — declined to comment when asked if Woods and Williams had a non-disclosure agreement in place that could have been violated by writing the book.
Woods and Williams began working together in 1999, with Woods winning his second major title later that year at the PGA Championship. Williams also was Woods’ best man at his wedding.
Williams ended up on Woods’ bag for 13 of his 14 major titles and 63 of his 79 PGA Tour victories.
During that time, Woods made in excess of $70 million in official earnings on the PGA Tour, of which Williams conservatively could have been expected to be paid more than $6 million, depending on their arrangement. This is not discussed in the excerpt, which did print Williams’ objections to Woods’ on-course behavior.
“One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up,” Williams wrote. “I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club, it was like I was his slave. The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt.”
Williams was critical of Woods in the aftermath of their split in 2011, and gleefully celebrated his victory with Scott at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational later that year as “the best victory of my life.” He later apologized for taking attention away from Scott’s win.
When the marital scandal broke, Williams said he received a text from Woods, but never a phone call until March of 2010, at which time the golfer profusely apologized. He also spoke to Williams’ wife, Kristy, to offer an apology to her.
Soon afterward, Woods issued a televised public apology that Williams felt was unnecessary.
“It was heavily scripted with nothing natural about it,” Williams wrote.
“I didn’t have any sympathy for him over what he’d done,” Williams said. “I believe you’re in charge of your own actions and I have no sympathy for people who get addicted to drugs or gambling or sex. People make choices in their lives and he had chosen to do this.
“But I did have sympathy for the way he’d had to suffer in front of the world when others would have been able to sort out their mess in private.”
Williams got his start in professional caddying in 1976, working for five-time Open champion Peter Thomson at the New Zealand Open. He went on to caddie on the European Tour and worked for the likes of Ian-Baker Finch, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd.