I wouldn’t ask Tiger Woods this morning if your caddie doesn’t matter.
After leaving Augusta National with a late Masters’ charge boosting him no closer to another Green Jacket than fourth place Sunday, Tiger watched as his former caddie, Steve Williams, dished a resounding high-five on the 18th green as his latest employer, Adam Scott, drilled a 20-foot birdie to take a momentary lead in golf’s most prestigious outing.
It was the quiet, confident coaching from Williams, a New Zealander, to his young, fit pro, Scott, an Aussie, that helped him don the Green Jacket for the first time. Scott became the first Australian to win Masters’ glory after sliding in a winning 12-foot putt on the second playoff hole, past a valiant effort by Argentinian statesman Angel Cabrera, whose ball rested a half-a-roll short of continuing the competition.
As an old, late golf mentor of mine would have exclaimed, “jingle jangle!”
You’ve got to hand it to Scott to rise above what could have been one of his biggest mistakes if he ‘d canned Williams following Scott’s historic meltdown last year at the Open Championship. Though there was a lot of finger-pointing as Scott bogeyed the last four holes to fall to Ernie El’s victory, Scott kept Williams on his bag to make another run.
Even if Williams’ advice to Scott led to the younger Aussie’s 2012 colossal collapse in Lancashire, England, Scott was mature enough to know that his New Zealand caddie had a lot of pure golf knowledge to impart, despite knowing what came out of Williams’ mouth was not always the right stuff. He had been known to utter racist and defamatory comments on and off the course.
On what now is etched in Masters’ history as the defining putt of the 77th Tournament, the 32-year-old golfer turned to his 49-year-old caddie and asked for help.
“I said, `Do you think it’s just more than a cup?’ He said, `It’s at least two cups. It’s going to break more than you think,'” Scott later recounted. “He was my eyes on that putt.”
“The winning putt might be the highlight putt of my career,” Williams said later. “Because he asked me to read it.”
That’s quite a statement from a caddie who had been on Tiger’s bag for 13 majors. Now his advice was sought and he gave it. But not only did Williams give great counsel this time, Scott listened.