Nov 1st, 2015
"Tiger Treated Me Like A Slave"
Steve Williams in tell all autobiography
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Getty Images
Steve Williams has had a pop at Tiger in his new book out on Monday. In excerpts from Out of the Rough he describes how Tiger treated him “like I was a slave.”
Steve Williams has been pretty quiet on the Tiger Woods front. But if his new book is anything to go by he was incredibly hurt by Tiger and the fallout from his sex scandal. The excerpts are pretty scathing and according to Williams, the whole situation came out of the blue to him. The first Williams knew anything was wrong was in the aftermath of winning the Australian Masters.
“The joy of winning dissipated in the strangest fashion. No sooner had Tiger fulfilled his media obligations then he fled to the airport in a chopper, leaving me to head back to the hotel on my own. As I was driving, I got a text from Mark Steinberg which read, 'There is a story coming out tomorrow. Absolutely no truth to it. Don't speak to anybody’.”
After Tiger’s fire hydrant escapades Steve Williams didn’t hear from his boss for four months. He was clearly frustrated by the lack of communication and disrespect shown to him by Woods management team.
“I repeatedly asked for Tiger's management to release a statement that would clear me of any involvement in this lurid news. They simply wouldn't do it because there were others in his group who knew exactly what was going on, and management felt they couldn't single out one person as innocent. Angry, frustrated and hung out to dry, I was also in limbo about when I would next work.
"Tiger had taken an indefinite break from golf and I had no idea when he'd be back – or if I'd be working for him again. Quitting wasn't an option as I felt incredibly loyal to Tiger – this was the toughest time of his life and I wasn't going to ditch him. The uncertainty came from the total lack of communication from Tiger's team.
"It didn't bother me that he hadn't said anything because he had told me he'd be in touch when he was ready – though admittedly that was an email and I'd rather have had a phone call. But I think Mark Steinberg or one of his lackeys could have been more forthcoming and more understanding of my situation. All I got was silence.”
When Williams finally did hear from Tiger, he let his boss know who was in charge now.
“It was good to actually hear his voice over the phone. I told him I was sorry to hear what he'd been going through and he was again apologetic to me. I didn't have any sympathy for him over what he'd done. I believe you're in charge of your own actions and I have no sympathy for people who get addicted to drugs or gambling or sex.
"People make choices in their lives and he had chosen to do this. But I did have sympathy for the way he'd had to suffer in front of the world when others would have been able to sort out their mess in private. I also told him that before I came back to work we had to sit down and have a long chat as there were some home truths I needed to say face to face.
"There was no question in my mind that our relationship – and his relationship with the game of golf – was going to be different when we got back together for the Masters in two weeks' time.”
“The list was long – there was a lot I needed to say and it was going to be difficult to tell my boss he had to pull his head in. But I'd done it before and I would do it again before I retired. I explained to him what had happened in New Zealand and how furious I was at being dragged through the wringer over a scandal I had nothing to do with. He needed to know how difficult that was for me and my family.
“I told him it was something that could have been avoided and how bitterly disappointed I was at his people for their total lack of communication and unwillingness to put out a statement saying I had nothing to do with it. I was adamant that some of his behavior on the course had to change.
"He was well known for his bad temper and, while that wasn't pleasant to witness, you could live with it because it ended as quickly as it started. But he had other bad habits that upset me. I wanted him to prove to me he could change his behavior and show me – and the game of golf – more respect.
“One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club – it was like I was his slave.
"The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt. Tiger listened to what I had to say, the air was cleared and we got on with it – his goal was to be the best player in history and my goal was to keep working as best I could to help make that happen.”
Steve Williams has obviously had a lot to get off his chest. And even as massive Tiger fans, his on course tantrums are incredibly annoying. But we can't help but think if these two had stayed togther that Tiger would be a whole lot closer to Jack's 18 major championships by now.
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