Now, it’s his caddie of a dozen years, Steve Williams.
On Wednesday, Tiger Woods made public on his website a fact that the two men have known for almost two weeks now – their dozen-year, baker’s-dozen-majors relationship had come to an end. Woods wanted to make a change, he said. Williams, shocked, shed the interim title from his relationship as caddie to Aussie Adam Scott.
No replacement has been identified for Williams, but that apparently does not matter at this point. With Woods having played only nine competitive holes of golf since the Masters – a 6-over effort over nine holes at the Players in May which reaggravated his existing injuries – the timetable for Woods’ return was already cast in doubt. Now, if Woods intends to play for the remainder of this season, he not only has to find enough strength in his left knee and Achilles to play with minimal pain, but he must also find a semblance of a golf swing that he had been developing with Sean Foley, as well as a guy to carry around the sticks while he figures it out inside the ropes.
The announcement adds more questions to a litany already pondered, but none answered. All of the inquiries boil down to one central unknown: will Tiger Woods ever be able to perform even like a Dolly-clone of his former self?
Right now, the Magic 8-Ball is saying all signs point to no.
Woods is doing something significant here, though. He’s clearing a house that had mostly been evacuated. Sponsors, his coach, his wife. They left on their own accord, but Woods let Williams go. Maybe it was a mercy kill by Tiger for Williams, who reviled what Woods did to his family and said so on an international edition of 60 Minutes. Maybe not.
But if Woods is starting to take matters into his own hands in an effort to get his life and game back on track, then there are really only two people left in his stable. One is Sean Foley, his swing teacher who has been rumored on his way out from day one. The whispers persist he is done with Woods, though who would be both willing and qualified to take the job of coaching the world’s greatest golfing talent is a guess at best.
Say Foley is gone – and, frankly, it doesn’t matter because that was never the issue. Who’s left? Mark Steinberg. Steinberg has moved on from IMG, moving to a new agency with his top client. Woods said he was sticking with Steinberg in June, but Excel Sports Management had no golf arm until Steinberg arrived with Woods in tow. Is there much reason to serve as partial collateral for his agent to get a new gig?
That may be the relationship that stands. Woods and Steinberg, in this together until the bitter end. Then again, with how all Woods news seems to be of the Debbie Downer variety these days, not much would be shocking anymore.