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Steve Williams Talks Tiger Woods, Retirement, and the Nickname He Hated

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Steve Williams and Tiger Woods celebrate Woods' chip-in on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters.

It’s Steve – not Stevie; but maybe if Tiger Woods and his former caddie spoke more, Steve Williams would be OK with the diminutive form of his name.

Woods’ long-time caddie wants to be rid of the nickname, but not his former charge’s friendship. According to an interview with the New York Times, the pair, who had worked together for 13 years, have hardly spoken since Woods relieved Williams of his duties in July 2011.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I caddied for the guy for 13 years, put my heart and soul into it, and there’s been no correspondence at all.” Nothing beyond exchanging pleasantries on the course, at least.

Golf Channel’s Steve Sands made the moniker mistake while presenting Williams as the newest member of the Caddie Hall of Fame at Cherry Hills Country Club just outside of Denver. 

“Stevie’s what Tiger used to call me, so that’s what everybody calls me," Williams said. "I hate that name.”

After 36 years, he may not need to put up with the misnomer much longer. Williams told the New York Times he is scaling back his caddying for former World no. 1 Adam Scott, with the intention of retiring. He’s said that once before, though, in 2000 – just before Woods gave him a call.

Earlier this year, Williams told the reason for his and Woods’ split:

“Adam heard Tiger pulled out and wondered where I was. I phoned Tiger about it and he said, 'No problem.' After some thought, though, he didn't agree with it. Tiger changed his mind. Well, I'd already told Adam I would be there. I wasn't prepared to ring Adam up and say I can't do it. I'm a man of my word. I had no idea I was going to get fired over it. I also hadn't worked a lot. Not that I needed the money, but I wanted to work. I was told (by Tiger) after U.S. Open that I no longer had a job and it's as simple as that."

Williams plans to skip minor tour events and work only from March to September, allowing him to spend time back home in New Zealand with his wife, son and other hobby – racecar driving. His fiery, competitive side that got him noticed as ‘the enforcer’ with Woods (remember that camera-tossed-in-the-pond incident?) explains his love for another competitive, adrenaline-filled sport.

“He’s always on the move doing something,” his wife Kristy told the New York Times. “He has promised to get better at relaxing when he retires. I think pigs might fly before that happens, though.”

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