Tiger Woods’ has slapped down Steve Williams after the caddy’s unkind—and untrue—comments on Phil Mickelson at a recent charity event. From the New York Times:
As he prepared to welcome the players participating in this week’s Chevron World Challenge benefiting the Tiger Woods Foundation and other charities, Tiger Woods, the tournament’s host, probably did not think he would be issuing a terse statement aimed at defusing a controversy between himself and his longtime rival Phil Mickelson.
That, however, was exactly what Woods did Monday, a day after Mickelson had issued a statement of his own responding to off-color, critical remarks about him attributed to Steve Williams, Woods’s longtime caddie.
“I was disappointed to read the comments attributed to Steve Williams about Phil Mickelson, a player that I respect,” Woods said in the statement. “It was inappropriate. The matter has been discussed and dealt with.”
Your friendly neighborhood Golf Blogger predicted back in October that Steve Williams was on the way out as Tiger’s caddy—and I was only half kidding. In the earlier incident that precipitated the October prediction, Williams had said that Greg Norman was every bit as good as Tiger.
A look at Tiger’s history shows that people have been kicked out of his inner circle for similar—and sometimes even more innocuous remarks. Tiger apparently doesn’t like to be talked about. He fired Mike “Fluff” Cowan after the caddy’s rather innocent Golf Digest interview. Rumor has it that part of the reason for the firing of Butch Harmon was the instructor’s loose lips. Mickelson himself has apparently been on Tiger’s enemies list since commenting that Woods played with inferior equipment, and that only a player of his caliber could win like that. What was meant as a complement apparently put Lefty on ice.
Williams latest faux pas comes on the eve of one of Tiger’s babies—the 16 man Chevron World Challenge (what used to be known as the Target World Challenge). The publicity can’t be of the sort Tiger had in mind.
Of course, what the Blogger Fury over William’s remarks really shows is that golf bloggers really dont’ have a lot to write about right now.