Bill Nichols

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tiger Woods fires longtime caddie Steve Williams

With the Grand Slam out of reach, Tiger Woods has virtually completed a clean sweep, firing longtime caddie Steve Williams on Wednesday.

Their 12-year relationship included 72 worldwide wins, including 13 major titles. Woods, who has employed only one other caddie, Mike ``Fluff’’ Cowan, since turning pro, did not identify a replacement.

``I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change,’’ Woods said 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.’’

With Woods recovering from injuries to his left knee and Achilles, Williams caddied for fellow Australian Adam Scott, with Woods’ approval, the last three events. Williams said he will stay on Scott’s bag.

``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.’’

Within the last two years, Woods has split with his wife, instructor Hank Haney, who was on board for 32 victories, and managment company, IMG.

Williams told The Associated Press that he informed Williams of the decision in a board room at Aronimink after the final round of the AT&T National. Williams kept it a secret because he did not want to distract Scott during last week’s British Open.

Tim Rosaforte on the Golf Channel asked Williams if working for Scott caused the firing. ``You know the answer to that,'' Williams said.

Rosaforte mentioned Joe LaCava as a potential replacement. LaCava is a veteran who worked for Fred Couples and is now with Dustin Johnson.

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