ATLANTA, Georgia — Steve Williams, the caddie fired by Tiger Woods last month after serving as his bagman for 13 of his 14 major triumphs, apologized Wednesday for snubbing his new employer after a victory.
The move came on the eve of the 93rd PGA Championship, where Woods said he was surprised at comments by Williams last Sunday that seemed to diminish their 12 years together and ignore Adam Scott's Bridgestone Invitational victory.
Williams, a 47-year-old New Zealander who was cheered by name while walking alongside Scott up the 18th hole in the World Golf Championships event at Firestone, called it "the best week of my life" and "most satisfying win".
"I have been caddying for 33 years, 145 wins, and that's the best win I've ever had," Williams added. "I sort of believe in destiny sometimes."
Woods chose his words carefully Wednesday and said little about the flap, although he said that his agent, Mark Steinberg, met with Williams on Tuesday.
"I'm not going to speculate on Stevie," Woods said. "Those are obviously his feelings and his emotions and his decision to say what he wants to say."
On his website, Williams posted a statement apologizing to Scott, who said Tuesday he had spoken to Williams and had no problem with the comments.
"My emotions following Adam's victory were running very high and at the time I felt like my emotions poured out and got the better of me," Williams said in his statement.
"I apologize to my fellow caddies and professionals for failing to mention Adam's outstanding performance. I would like to thank all those fans at Firestone who made this victory the most special of my career."
Woods said he sent Williams a congratulatory text message after the final round last Sunday.
"I was happy to see Stevie and Adam win. Adam has been a friend of mine, and same with Stevie," Woods said.
"I sent Stevie a nice text after completion of play, congratulating him on his win. It was good to see them go out there and play as well as they did."
Asked if he and Williams had spoken or exchanged messages since Williams made his comments, Woods said, "I think that's between Stevie and myself."
Former World No. 1 Woods, now ranked 30th after missing much of this season with left leg injuries, was 15 strokes back at the WGC event on a course where he had won seven times before with Williams as caddie.
Woods dodged the question when asked if Williams had been disloyal, having defined loyalty as trust earned over time, and again when asked if he regretted the way he split with Williams, which he said came face-to-face at last month's PGA National.
"Sometimes we all need changes and this was a change," Woods said. "I was at peace with it. It was a decision and a direction I wanted to go and that's it.
"All I can control is my life and how I feel. That's it. That's all I can do."
Shane Joel, an Australian who caddies for Woods' friend Mark O'Meara, was linked to possibly becoming the next full-time caddie for Woods in a report on The Golf Channel, and Woods said his name has come up in conversation.
"There's nobody I've committed to," Woods said. "Mark was nice enough to talk to me about it and said that Shane is available if I so choose. I'm focused on this (week). After this event I'll sit down and really look at it."
Bryon Bell, a friend of Woods since childhood, caddied for Woods last week and will be on the bag this week on an interim basis. Even Woods joked that Bell might have trouble with heat and hills at Atlanta Athletic Club.
"I just have to push him up a couple of hills," Woods joked. "I think we're going to have a great time. We're going to have fun. He knows my game.
"As far as understanding me and knowing me and knowing what to say, he's very good at that. He's very good at making a very sly and smart-aleck remark every now and again to sort of loosen me up."
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »