August 08, 2011
Back in 2003, when my entire family headed to East Texas for my sister's wedding, I was stoked. Fresh off my first year of college, I knew it was going to be my first real shot of bringing my newfound intelligence (read: college chutzpah) to this little town. The day before the vows were handed off, my dad pulled me aside and gave me one very small, but very important piece of advice. He told me, "This isn't about you. Don't make yourself the story here."
That line stuck with me for a long time, mainly because I've always tried to be the story. Sometimes, however, it just isn't your place.
Cue Steve Williams, caddie for a number of famous golfers, but more importantly, the latest to get snipped off by Camp Tiger. Williams was upset about being let go, told the world that exact thing, and then headed to Firestone with his new player, and a damn fine one at that. We must all remember that Adam Scott was far from some chump golfer before Williams took over the loop. The 31-year-old Australian was one of the few named as the "next Tiger Woods" back in the early part of this decade because of his jaw-dropping golf swing and confidence on the golf course. Scott just had the it factor that most golfers never seem to find, and he seemed able to take over such a position. But we all know the story of Scott. He struggled with his game, his putting stroke and eventually fell off the list of the next big thing. He was a talented player that had won a lot of good events, but he'd probably never sniff the Hall of Fame and seemed destined to be on that list of best players to never win a major.
So on Sunday, just four starts into their newfound player-caddie relationship, Scott blew away the field at the Bridgestone Invitational, the second-biggest win of his career to date, highlighted by an incredible second shot into the 18th green that looked like, for an instant, it might disappear in the hole for a 2, bringing thoughts back to Tiger in 2000 at this same golf course when his final approach shot settled right next to the hole in near darkness.
Scott won this weekend, and so did Williams, and that should have been the end of the story, but it wasn't. Why? Because Williams never got that advice from my dad some years ago that every caddie should live by: never be the story. Vijay Singh's caddie broke that rule some years ago at the Presidents Cup when he decided to wear a "Tiger Who?" hat only to watch the best player in the world at the time dust his golfer.
When I looped for Irene Cho on the LPGA last year, we were playing the 18th hole at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville, Calif., when her second shot landed on the green, rolled towards the hole and disappeared for a 2. With a camera in her face, I wasn't exactly sure what to do, but I tried my best to get out of the way so everyone could see her reaction, not mine. As we walked to the green to a standing ovation, I just hung back and let her be engulfed in the glory of the golf shot, because I sure didn't hit it and just because I gave her a number doesn't allow me the privilege of raining on her parade.
Williams should have declined that post-round interview. He's a famous guy and up until Sunday, was the victim of all this, but by saying what he said about this being the best week of his life and biggest win, it just showed that neither he nor Tiger will ever take the high road in all of this, and it sure didn't make him look good. Williams is a fantastic caddie, one of the best in the world, but he broke one of the main rules in looping at Firestone. He made himself the story when his player should have been.