The former caddy to Tiger Woods backed away from comments in his new book that the golf superstar treated him like a slave.
New Zealander Steve Williams, who carried Tiger’s bag for 13 of his 14 major victories, finds himself under heavy fire after a New Zealand newspaper printed a segment of his book, Out of the Rough. In the excerpt Williams writes: “I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club. It was like I was his slave.”
The controversial characterization of his relationship with Woods spurred a global firestorm on social media in which the beleaguered New Zealander walked back his comment. “In this part of the world where slavery has never existed people use slave as a description of their service or work every day,” Williams replied on Wednesday while on a book tour in New Zealand. “We use the word loosely Down Under. After reviewing the book several times before it was published, it never crossed my mind to change the word.”
In 2011 Williams uttered what many perceived as an inappropriate racist remark at an awards dinner. From the Guardian:
The New Zealander, who was fired by Woods earlier this year and has since joined up with the Australian Adam Scott, made the comment while on stage at a “caddie of the year” awards ceremony in Shanghai. He was being honored for the “celebration of the year,” an ironic acknowledgement of his emotional reaction in the aftermath of Scott’s victory at the Bridgestone Invitational last summer.
The caddie described his new employer’s triumph at the time as the “greatest victory of my career”. Asked on Friday to explain why he had made such an obvious exaggeration given that he had caddied Woods to 13 major championship wins, Williams said: “I wanted to shove it up that black arsehole.
The book’s use of the word “slave” angered many on social media.
— Sean Donnelly (@SeanDonnelly66) November 6, 2015
— Debra Dennis (@debdennis01) November 2, 2015
@followthebounce Haha, best paid slave in history!
— BDub (@BrendonWessels) November 2, 2015
@sportingnews how much did his ‘slave’ make while he was his caddie? What an idiot.
— Tom McDonald (@MelloMcdCincy) November 1, 2015
Williams makes a number of unflattering remarks about Woods in the book. “The other thing that disgusted me was his habit of spitting at the hole if he missed a putt,” he wrote.
USA Today reports that Williams also writes that he was “hung out to dry” by his former boss and his agent, Mark Steinberg, when Woods’ extra-marital affairs became public in 2009 and 2010.