• Golf

Caddying for Tiger is 'claustrophobic' - Williams

ESPN staff
January 7, 2014
Williams and Woods worked together for 12 years, winning 13 major championships © Getty Images

Tiger Woods' former caddie Steve Williams has revealed that being under the spotlight of working for the world No. 1 left him wanting to "crawl under a tree".

In an interview with the PGA Tour's official website, the New Zealander, who was on Woods' bag from 1999 to 2011 and for 13 of his 14 major championship wins, described in some detail the downside of caddying for the world's most famous golfer.

"For me, it was always difficult working with a lot of people around," he said. "I always said to [Woods] that one day I'm going to caddie with my crash helmet on so I don't have to listen to everybody.

"You get this weird sensation when you caddie for him that you want to crawl under a tree because people are always looking at you. It's a claustrophobic feeling. I felt like that regularly with him, even going out for a practice round at half-past six in the morning.

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"It's an evolving process when you caddie for someone like him, who has such high expectations. It was all about winning.

"We gelled pretty quickly [because] I'm as competitive as he is. Even caddying you want to do the best you can do and here was a guy who had one thing he wanted to do: Win.

"I find it hard to believe a sportsman has played under more personal pressure than he did then."

In the extensive interview, Williams also revealed that he almost didn't take the job in 1999.

He added: "I'd decided that I'd had enough and 2000 was going to be my last year caddying, so when Tiger called me I wasn't 100 per cent sure I was going to take the job. But I flew to Orlando and interviewed with him and he hired me on the spot."

Williams now works for Adam Scott, and was on the Australian's bag when he became the first player from his country to win The Masters in April last year. Scott holed a 20-foot putt at the 72nd hole to ultimately force a play-off with Angel Cabrera, in which he was successful.

And Williams is not shy to admit his part in the victory.

"When Adam read the putt, I told him his read wasn't close and it broke a lot more than he thought. I hadn't seen the putt before but as I walked down the fairway the first thing I said to myself was 'It's quicker and breaks more than you think.' Everything on the other side of that green was slower than you thought, and the same was true with fast putts. He might have missed that putt and not gone on to win and then he's still trying to win his first major."

Williams, who turned 50 last month, also confirmed that the 2014 season will be his last as a full-time professional caddie, but he may stay on for the bigger events next year.

"I went to caddie for Adam with the intention that I wanted to get him over the line in a major championship, and it happened. I thought that was the perfect way to end my career.

"Something tells you that is the moment and it's time to do something else. Deep, deep, deep inside me that's what I wanted to do, was never be seen again caddying. I'd made up my mind.

"So [2014] is my last year caddying full-time. If Adam agrees, and we've talked about it, I'll caddie for him from Doral to the Tour Championship in 2015 and then that's it."

Woods and Williams shake hands at the 2011 Presidents Cup - the first time they met after parting ways © Getty Images

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