Masters 2023: Steve Williams is back at Augusta, possibly for the last time
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Just like his old boss, Tiger Woods, legendary caddie Steve Williams does not know if this Masters will be his last. For different reasons, of course.
A single-car accident in 2021 left Woods with such severe injuries that his entire playing schedule these days is limited almost exclusively to the four majors each year.
Williams, now 59, is only wearing Augusta National’s famous white overalls because his most recent employer, Adam Scott, called him out of retirement in December. Scott is hoping to rekindle the magic of their successful partnership and capture an elusive second major—10 years after they teamed up to win the 2013 Masters.
It is Williams’ first time at Augusta since the 2017 Masters, when Scott tied ninth. Williams is job-sharing the caddie duties this year with Scott’s regular caddie, Greg Hearmon. Beyond this year, Williams doesn’t know what the future holds.
“It very well could be my last Masters. So I’m just trying to soak it up as much as I can,” Williams said at Augusta National as Scott practiced his chipping.
The badge pinned to Williams’ hat signified he had registered as the 87th caddie of the 88 in the field this week. A good omen, considering it’s the 87th Masters?
“We’ll see,” Williams said.
Williams’ comments echoed that of Woods, who spoke to the media Tuesday morning. “I don't know how many more I have in me,” Woods said. “So just to be able to appreciate the time that I have here and cherish the memories.”
Woods won three of his five green jackets—the 2000, 2001 and 2005 Masters—with Williams on the bag. Williams also caddied for Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman. Woods and Williams famously missed a high-five when Woods chipped in on No. 16 during the final round of the 2005 edition. But after the pair split in 2011, their relationship was strained. Williams famously said Scott’s victory at the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC was “the best win of my life,” which many considered a slight on Woods.
But seemingly Woods and Williams may have put any tension behind them. Williams detailed a brief and friendly chat in a hotel during the week of Woods’ Genesis Invitational at Riviera CC in February.
“I had just gotten off the plane from New Zealand, to caddie for Adam at Riviera, and I was in shorts and a T-shirt,” Williams said. “Tiger said to me, ‘I see you’ve barely got any clothes on, so nothing’s changed.’ We had a chat.”
What has changed, though, is the climate of professional golf. There are 18 LIV golfers in the field, among them the reigning Open champion, Cameron Smith, and six past Masters champions including Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson.
Williams has not taken any notice of the divide between PGA Tour and LIV players. Although he did tell the Guardian U.K. recently, his former boss, Norman, had likely taken a hit to his reputation. Williams doesn’t think Norman should have, however, given LIV recruits “aren’t made to go there. They have a choice. A lot of good players have gone there so they can’t all be wrong.”
Williams’ only focus is helping Scott try to become a multiple major champion this year, when he’ll caddie for three of the four majors. He promises to do what he’s always done, which is give the advice his player needs to hit the best shot at hand, regardless if it comes back to bite Williams.
“When Adam won in 2013, his read of the birdie putt on the second playoff hole [No. 10] was one cup outside right. I told him, ‘that’s not even f--ng close. It’s two-and-a-half cups, I’ve seen this putt before.’ If Adam is in a similar position this week, I won’t do anything differently. I’ll give him the best advice and treat it as though it’s my last Masters.”
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