Date posted: November 8, 2015

Mice and Men

This might be the shortest blog I’ve ever written. In fact, it’s so short let’s just call it a log, as in an entry in a ship captain’s writings detailing a journey on the high seas. In many ways, that’s an accurate depiction of my many years on assignment with Golf Digest following Tiger Woods around the world.

I was a high-riding journalist covering the PGA Tour’s ultimate high-rider, Tiger Woods. Well, covering might be a stretch since I rarely wrote anything concerning Tiger’s tournament play. Guess I was more of an observer of golf shots, expressions of joy and pain displayed during Tiger’s emotional rollercoaster and fan reaction to his various exploits on the course. All to better convey to the reader how he played a similar shot among the dozens of Tiger Tips Digest published.

Fellow golf writers chided me for having “the best job in golf.’’ In retrospect, they were wrong. Steve Williams, Tiger’s caddie for 13 years, had the best job in golf. Here’s why:  My gig with Digest certainly provided a very comfortable lifestyle and a fair amount of fame. However, Williams’ gig not only made him arguably the most famous caddie ever but certainly the wealthiest.

I never saw one of Steve Williams’ paychecks. But I think it’s safe to assume that if he was paid the standard fee of 10% of the “winner’s’’ share of a tournament purse and he was on the bag the majority of Tiger’s 70-plus PGA Tour wins, he made millions off the man he reportedly said treated him like a “slave.’’

That’s right, a slave. That’s how Williams said he felt when Tiger would flip a club toward his golf bag expecting Williams, the caddie, to pick it up. In other words, expecting Williams to do what he was being paid to do. It is reportedly part of the nonsense excerpted from Williams’ new book Out of the Rough. I don’t know how they define slavery in Williams’ homeland of New Zealand, but as an African-American I know the meaning of the word in America.

To Williams’ absurdity I say bullshit!

The evidence on public record and that known only to a select few make Williams look exactly as he has turned out to be: the worst kind of disloyal, whining, disgruntled employee whose boss had the good sense to fire him. Or a jilted lover; you choose.

I remember a much more blissful time between player and caddie. It wasn’t exactly Camelot but close. A time when the player supported the caddie’s charity and stood up for his friend as best man at his wedding. A time when caddie defended player against media, photographers, tour officials, cackling galleries, et al; almost anyone from the gates of hell.

I even recall hearing that player gave caddie two expensive Ford GT Mustangs, part of his bounty for winning a world championship event in Miami. Rumors have it that the same player let the caddie and his family go cruising on his yacht.

Of course, those were happier times and no doubt forgettable by the caddie.

I won’t be reading Williams’ book. Just like I’ve passed on other tell-all books written by those Tiger dismissed. I refuse to contribute to the cheese they will surely generate by exploiting another man’s fame, especially when they’re already fat from his cheddar.

On that note, I guess mice will be mice—annoying pests thriving in darkness and dirt.


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