Tiger Woods is going through another nasty, public breakup, but this one is with his longtime caddie.
Tiger announced yesterday that he will no longer be working with Steve Williams, who has made a career of carrying Tiger’s bags for the last 12 years.
"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it’s time for a change," the embattled golfer said in a statement posted to his official website. "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."
Tiger’s comeback has been anything but smooth with his spotty record at several tournaments over the past year. He is currently taking a break from the PGA tour as he attempts to heal from a injury in his left leg.
It’s not clear how Tiger broke the news to Steve, but it doesn’t seem as the caddie is taking it terribly well.
"I am extremely disappointed, given that the last 18 months has been a particularly difficult time," Steve told the BBC. "With the scandals, a new coach, a swing change, I’ve stuck with him through thick and thin and been incredibly loyal, and then this happens."
He added, "I wouldn’t ditch someone when the chips are down. I’ve stuck by Tiger and put myself and my family in a difficult position."
Steve decided not to jump ship after Tiger’s sex scandal broke in late 2009, and it’s a decision that Steve said was ill-advised by most people in his circle.
"I’m a very big stickler for loyalty and I stuck with Tiger through his difficult period when a lot of people thought I should have left his side," he said. "That was the most difficult period that I’ve ever been through in my life. I’m pretty hard headed and took it probably a lot better than my wife and family did, but there’s no way that I should have been put through that."
When news of Tiger’s numerous extra-marital affairs broke right after Thanksgiving in 2009, Steve denied having any knowledge of the pro-golfers canoodling or his various mistresses.
"My name should have been cleared immediately. It wasn’t and that’s what makes it even more disappointing what’s transpired," Steve stated, adding that Tiger lost a lot of his respect by cheating on Elin Nordegren with so many women. "Through time I hope he can gain my respect back. He definitely needs to earn my respect again; that’s for sure."
— Sonya Eskridge