Tiger Woods shocked the golf circuit, Wednesday, including ex-coach Hank Haney, by firing his long-time friend and caddie Steve Williams, ending their 12-year relationship that spanned 13 major titles and 63 PGA Tour wins for Golf's dynamic duo.
Woods did not offer any explanation for the firing and it has shocked Williams, who has been Woods' caddie since March 1999.
And it has shocked the golfing circuit too as Williams was a trusted aide of Woods and Woods has, on several occasions, even credited Williams for helping him through tough spots. Williams is also known for aggressively defending Woods on the course from his overbearing fans. In one case, William had wrestled a $7,000 camera from a fan who clicked a picture of Woods during his backswing and angrily threw it in a pond.
Wood's ex-coach Hank Haney is shocked and he didn't try to hide it. There were numerous times, literally in every tournament, where a caddie has an opportunity to help influence a player's decision. In my observation, there was an inordinate amount of times where Steve Williams would influence Tiger in a positive direction, Haney said.
According to Haney, like golfers, caddies have their nervous moments but he never saw William have any choke in him at all.
Do you know how many tournaments he won [as a caddie]? It was over 100. How many with Raymond Floyd? With Greg Norman? He's not just getting lucky all the time, Haney said.
In the golfing circuit Woods and Williams were like a pair of gloves as they understood each other well and formed a formidable team.
Williams said he was deeply shocked and disappointed by Woods' decision but will respect it.
Needless to say this came as a shock, Williams said on his website. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger's scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries, I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time.
According to sources close to Woods, the golfer was not happy when Williams asked his permission to caddy for Australian golfer Adam Scott at the PGA Tour's AT&T National tournament in Pennsylvania, which ended on July 3.
Woods, who is out because of his injuries, gave his blessings but was reportedly not happy with the idea that Williams was ditching him for a rival. Hence the axe fell.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change, Woods posted on his website. Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future. Tongues are now wagging that with Williams out for good, Woods would probably focus on nursing his injuries and will be out of competition for some time - perhaps the rest of the season.
The only lucky guy in this incident turned out to be none other than Scott, who's gushing about his new-found caddy. It's been great having him on the bag for a couple of weeks so far, Scott told ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski last week at Royal St. George's. I feel like I've learned a couple of things, and it's been great while I'm in between guys. So this is absolutely a bonus for me.
At the U.S. Open where Williams had caddied for Scott, the golfer had assured it wouldn't be a permanent relationship, saying, No. He is Tiger's guy and that's how it is.
However, things have obviously changed now. Having started my caddying career with Australian great Peter Thomson and working for Greg Norman in the '80s I am excited about the future working for another Australian, Williams posted.