JOHNS CREEK, GA.—Tiger Woods said he texted Steve Williams to congratulate his former caddie on carrying for Adam Scott’s win on Sunday. But he didn’t say a heck of a lot more than that.
Woods decidedly steered away from the controversy over his firing of Williams, controversy that flared Sunday when Williams spoke at length to the media after Scott’s win in the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club. Williams called it the best week of his life, despite having caddied for 13 of Woods’ major championships.
“Well, I was happy to see Stevie and Adam win,” said Woods, who made his return to competitive golf in that same tournament. “Adam has been a friend of mine, and same with Stevie. I sent Stevie a nice text after [the] completion, congratulating him on his win. It was good to see them go out there and play as well as they did.”
He would not get into Williams’ assertion that Woods fired him over the phone, and not in person as the golfer said during his news conference last week. He did not say much of anything on the topic, other than acknowledging that Williams did speak with Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg here at the PGA Championship. “They talked, yeah, absolutely,” Woods said, pointedly declining what was in the conversation.
When he was asked if he and his former caddie had had any contact other than the text, Woods said, “That’s between Stevie and myself.”
When he was asked if he was surprised that Williams, so hostile to the media during his time with Woods, was so outspoken Sunday, Woods said, “Yeah.” And he left it at that.
Later, in response to another question, Woods said, “I’m not going to speculate on Steve. Those are obviously his feelings and his emotions and his decision to say what he wants to say.”
He did make it clear that he had no second thoughts about the decision to part with Williams. Woods said, “Sometimes we all need changes, and this was a change, and as I told you guys earlier, I was at peace with it. It was a decision and a direction I wanted to go, and that’s it.”
Williams had told foxsports.com Monday that he was “a bit over the top” in his comments. Today, the caddie issued this formal apology on his website:
"There has been considerable debate following the comments I made at the conclusion of Sunday's Bridgestone Invitational. It was a complete surprise to have CBS announcer, David Feherty ask for an interview following the completion of play. 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. 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 repeated what he said during at Firestone last week, that he feels healthy and is upbeat about that; and that he is pleased with the progress of the swing changes he has made with coach Sean Foley.
Bryon Bell, his friend and head of Woods’ course design firm, will be on the bag again this week, before Woods seriously gets down to hiring a full-time caddie.
“Well, I think I just have to push him up a couple of hills,” Woods said. “We’re going to have fun. We’re going to be competing. He knows my game. He knows how far I hit the golf ball. We play all the time at home, so he’s seen me play a ton of golf. That’s nothing new.”