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Steve Williams: Who Is Tiger Woods' Former Caddie?

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Steve Williams, Tiger Woods caddie, 2006 Target World Challenge

Caddie Steve Williams with his boss, Tiger Woods, at the 2006 Target World Challenge.

Photo © Rich Hodge; used with permission
Question: Steve Williams: Who Is Tiger Woods' Former Caddie?
Answer: Steve Williams was Tiger Woods' caddie from 1999 until mid-2011. Woods announced a split with Williams on July 20, 2011, although Williams said he was dismissed by Woods during the AT&T National tournament several weeks earlier.

Before becoming Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams worked for a succession of golf greats. Details about Williams' career follow.

Steve Williams Basics
• Date of birth: Dec. 29, 1963
• Place of birth: Wellington, New Zealand
• Other pros worked for: Peter Thomson, Ian Baker-Finch, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Adam Scott
• First tournament with Woods: 1999 Bay Hill Invitational
• Last tournament with Woods: 2011 Players Championship
• Nickname: Nothing original - Tiger calls him "Stevie"

Steve Williams Before Tiger
Steve Williams' caddie career began long before he met Tiger Woods. In fact, Woods was less than one year old when Williams got his first caddying gig for a pro golfer.

That golfer was 5-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, who used the 13-year-old Williams as his caddie in the 1976 New Zealand Open (Williams' father was an acquaintance of Thomson's).

Williams had been caddying at his family's club for years by that time, and did a professional job for Thomson, who finished third. Williams caddied sporadically for Thomson for several years, in New Zealand and in some Australian tournaments.

In 1979, when he was 16, Williams moved to Europe to caddie full-time on the European Tour. In his first year in Europe, he caddied for several Australian golfers, primarily Ian Baker-Finch.

In 1980, Williams met Greg Norman and was hired by Norman as his part-time caddie (Norman used different caddies depending on which tour he was playing). Steve Williams and Greg Norman were together part-time through 1987, then Williams joined Norman on the USPGA Tour in 1988 and theirs became a full-time working relationship.

The old saying is that caddies are hired to be fired, and Norman fired Williams for undisclosed reasons in 1989.

Williams went to work for another major champion, Raymond Floyd, and remained with Floyd into the 1999 season.

Steve Williams with Tiger Woods
While working for Floyd at the 1999 Doral Ryder Open, Williams was approached by Woods' then-coach Butch Harmon. Woods had just fired "Fluff" Cowan as caddie; would Williams be interested in talking to Tiger?

After the Doral event ended, Williams interviewed with Woods and was quickly hired. Williams was been on Woods' bag in all but one of Tiger's major championship wins. Their first tournament together was the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational.

"Stevie" is known for obsessive preparation and is considered by other caddies one of the greats of their business. He was also known for being very aggressive and vocal in directing crowds (or yelling at fans or photographers) around Woods during tournaments, and for being very protective of Woods on the course.

The two became close personal friends over the years, with Woods serving as best man at Williams' wedding. Unfortunately, that personal relationship appeared to dissolve at the same time as their professional relationship, with Williams expressing bitterness towards Woods in multiple forums over the second half of 2011.

Steve Williams After Tiger
While Woods was laid up with injuries in 2011, Williams began caddying for Adam Scott. Originally, this appeared to be a temporary arrangement. However, after his split from Woods was announced, Williams said he would work for Scott full-time. Scott's first victory with Williams as his caddie happened at the 2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

Steve Williams Off the Course
Williams' other great passion is motorsports, and he drives a race car in New Zealand's Speedway Racing series. His team, Caddyshack Racing, is very successful, too.

The Steve Williams Foundation was founded in 2001, with its mission to assist junior golfers in New Zealand, "particularly those in remote areas and the smaller provinces that struggle for sponsorship."

Williams' official Web site is kiwicaddy.co.nz.

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