Why an all-time great caddie turned down the chance to work for Tiger Woods
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The partnership between Tiger Woods and Stevie Williams is perhaps golf's most famous player/caddie team. Tiger won 13 of his majors with Stevie on the bag, giving him the tally for the most majors looped for by one caddie. And golf fans are familiar with some of Tiger's most iconic images, such as his chip-in at the 16th at the 2005 Masters, with Stevie part of the celebration.
That's part of the intrigue behind a great recent story by the Caddie Network on all-time great caddie Tony Navarro. The story, worth a longer read on its own on Navarro, details how Navarro declined the opportunity to be considered for Tiger's caddie. Navarro was Greg Norman's caddie in 1998, and Tiger had just decided to part ways with Mike "Fluff" Cowan, leaving the most desirable opening in looping circles open.
In the story, the Caddie Network details how Butch Harmon, then Tiger's swing coach, was asked about potential replacements for Fluff, and Butch recommended just two names: Stevie and Navarro. But Navarro's candidacy for Tiger's caddie ended immediately after Butch first talked to Navarro.
As Butch told the Caddie Network's Craig Dolch:
“I told Tiger there were two guys he should hire – Tony Navarro and Steve Williams. I spoke with Tony first. But he said, ‘No, I’m still working for Greg.’
“That’s the kind of guy Tony is. He’s incredibly loyal. Whoever he works for, he’s 100 percent invested in that person.”
Navarro, in addition to caddieing for Norman when he was in his prime, also looped for Raymond Floyd, Jeff Sluman, Gary Woodland and Ben Crenshaw, among others. By Caddie Network calculations, Navarro was a part of more than 50 worldwide victories, which might be the most, split across multiple players.
Read the full story here, for some great nuggets Navarro accumulated across four decades being in golf. The Tiger anecdote, especially, sticks out when you consider what could've been if Navarro had entertained the idea of speaking with Tiger -- which isn't to say Tiger would've hired Navarro over Stevie. But the possibility exists that some of Tiger's biggest career victories could've came with another looper at his side.