Williams shouldn't discount good times with Tiger

August 11, 2011 

When it comes to relationships with Tiger Woods, it seems breaking up really is hard to do. Moving on from it, even when it is the wise thing to do, apparently is even harder.

In the ultimate what-have-you-done-for-me-lately moment, former caddie Steve Williams used his new employer Adam Scott's career victory at last Sunday's Bridgestone Invitational as a pulpit to take shots at Woods, who employed him for the past 12-plus years.

Forget the fact that Williams earned nearly $9 million while looping for Woods, earned celebrity status and traveled the world in first-class style -- because apparently he has.

Williams feels betrayed and misled and let the world know what he thought about the former world No. 1, just as Scott was celebrating a career moment.

In taking all the spotlight away from Scott's impressive win, Williams disputed the timing and the communication of his dismissal and then dismissed the 13 major championships he won with Woods by calling Scott's victory in last week's World Golf Championship event at Firestone Golf Club the highlight of his career as a caddie.

Two days ago, while on site for the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Williams did what most people do when they suffered diarrhea of the mouth -- he apologized. But the damage -- to himself, his former employer and his current one -- had already been done.

Scott, a typically quiet but talented professional, has spent the past four days cleaning up his caddie's mess when he should have been celebrating his victory. For his part, Williams has suffered scorn and ridicule for breaking a third of the caddie code of "show up, keep up and shut up."

For Woods, it's another public relations road bump as he works to move beyond his self-created scandal of infidelity and divorce, which, along with injury, has essentially hijacked his career. It's not, however, uncharted territory for Tiger, who has seen business partners, friends and other golf professionals take public shots at him as he has worked to repair his private life from his own destructive behavior.

First, it was PGA Tour professional Jesper Parnevik. Then it was former swing coach Hank Haney. Next came one-time good friend and NBA commentator Charles Barkley. Then, Sunday, it was Williams, who showed a lack of appreciation and professionalism by suggesting that Woods dumped, deceived and dodged him despite a longtime business relationship and friendship.

Yes, Woods did fire Williams, but for 12 years he also made him the most recognized and richest caddie on the professional circuit. That doesn't mean Williams owes it to Woods not to be mad or hurt, but it should at least warrant a measure of respect for what Tiger brought him over the years.

There's no disputing the fact that Williams is a good caddie and protected Woods on the golf course like a pit bull, but the last time I checked, he never won a tournament on a broken leg, crushed a major championship field by 12 shots or completed a career grand slam on the sunny side of 30 years old. For the record, it was Tiger who did those things with Stevie walking beside him, not in front of him.

Tiger made the bed he currently lies in. He made the mistakes, told the lies and lived the life that has brought him to this day. That said, he's working to put his life back in order, and sometimes reaching the ultimate bottom means moving away from the people who were around on the way down as part of making the trip back up.

He owes a debt to his ex-wife and redemption to his children and other family members. Those who helped professionally during the glory years or were "buddies" on the ugly fringe of his secret life, however, have already been paid in full. The fact they still want or expect more tells you something about those people and their motives.

Make no mistake -- there should be no pity party for Tiger as he works to make his way away from those who don't seem to want to see him go. Just keep in mind that many of those who take shots at him today benefited greatly when he was pulling off all the great ones on the golf course just two short years ago.

The only memories that are short are the ones that aren't appreciated.

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