Adam Scott ascended to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking this week without hitting a shot. Scott has steadily risen up the world ranking since his win at the 2010 Valero Texas Open and since hiring Steve Williams as his caddie in 2011.
Scott overtook Tiger Woods, who is recuperating from back surgery and has not played since before the Masters. Woods surpassed Rory McIlroy in March 2013 and had been the No. 1-ranked player for the past 60 weeks.
Woods has held the No. 1 spot for over 13 years in his career, and Steve Williams was his caddie for most of that time. Williams became Woods' caddie in March 1999, and Woods fired him in July 2011. He was on Woods’ bag for 13 of his 14 major titles.
While Woods was recuperating from injury in the summer of 2011, Williams signed on to carry Scott’s bag in the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
When Woods returned to the tour at the AT&T National in late July, he fired Williams, and Williams was promptly picked up by Scott.
Williams was on the bag when Scott beat Angel Cabrera to win the 2013 Masters. Now, Williams has helped Scott ascend to World No. 1.
At what point do we accept the fact that the caddie may have a role in helping his guy play great golf and achieve his maximum potential?
Williams also caddied for Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman when those players were in their primes.
It begs the question, should Steve Williams be considered for the World Golf Hall of Fame?
Does a caddie get to share in his player’s success, or does it all fall to the player?
No other caddie has been as prominent in the top moments in golf history as Williams has been. He demands the best effort from his player and always gives 100 percent.
Woods, in a fit of pique and feeling betrayed by his longtime caddie, probably made a mistake letting him go in 2011.
Greg Norman fired Williams in 1989 but later admitted he had made a mistake and tried to hire him back.
Williams has never been afraid to speak his mind and has had some run-ins with the media over the years. His brash comments have gotten him in hot water with his employers and have caused some hard feelings at different times in his career.
Some caddie-player unions seem to transcend the normal employee-employer relationship. Phil Mickelson has had Jim “Bones” Mackay on his bag since 1992. Tom Watson had Bruce Edwards, and Lee Trevino had Herman Mitchell as the perfect straight man.
Being a professional golfer is lonely, especially when one competes at the highest levels. Having a trustworthy caddie to help maintain composure and concentration during a round has to be comforting.
Steve Williams, Jim Mackay, Herman Mitchell and Bruce Edwards never hit a shot, but they certainly helped their players be in the right frame of mind to execute shots and ultimately win tournaments.
Aren't attitude and confidence the ultimate difference-makers in big tournaments?
Would Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lee Trevino or Tom Watson have won as many major titles with other caddies on their bags?
Maybe they would have, but, then again, maybe not.
What is the caddie’s true worth to the player? It’s a subject worthy of discussion, and maybe the new Hall of Fame selection committee will confront the issue.
I have never been a big Steve Williams fan, but he probably should receive consideration for a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Maybe a special caddie section needs to be added to the Hall of Fame to recognize exceptional caddies throughout golf history.
Much has been made of the contributions of Francis Ouimet’s caddie, Eddie Lowery, in his extraordinary U.S. Open win in 1913.
Whatever the outcome, Steve Williams has been present during some of the biggest moments in golf.
His World Golf Hall of Fame induction speech would be must-see television.