Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
Tough guy Steve Williams replaced with yes man Bryon Bell as Tiger’s caddy.
A self-destructing human Ouroboros, Tiger has shanked another important decision into the Woods, so to speak, picking the wrong caddy to be his right-hand man as he embarks on a major championship comeback.
Woods is set to make his return to the PGA Tour at next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, following an 11-week layoff that started at the turn during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
After rehabbing his left leg, Tiger is “feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!” according to his Twitter account.
Woods’ return marks the beginning of a new era in his career. With longtime caddy Steve Williams having been recently fired, there will be a new confidant carrying Tiger’s clubs from now on.
In fairness, the bar is set quite high for whoever follows in Williams’ footsteps.
Tiger’s first caddy, Mike “Fluff” Cowan, was the perfect mix of laid-back hippie and savvy veteran bagman for Woods’ prodigious early-20s talent. The duo won the 1997 Masters together; now Fluff reads putts, notes yardages, calms down and fires up Jim Furyk.
“It was a great ride while it lasted,” Cowan said, once his run with Tiger was over.
Then, Tiger moved on to Williams, who was Greg Norman’s former caddy. The roughneck New Zealander served as part bodyguard and part best man — a role Woods played at Williams wedding. The duo intimidated and high-fived their way to 13 major championships, the most recent coming at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008.
Stevie kept up appearances and essentially pleaded ignorance (or at least the fifth) as Tiger’s infidelity scandal mushroom-clouded worldwide. Williams sat out as Woods rehabbed his various injuries — reportedly going unpaid during that time — before finally picking back up the bag for Australian Adam Scott. (After first receiving permission from Woods, of course.)
Loyalty fell by the wayside, however, as Tiger decided it was time to move on — without Williams by his side.
“Realistically, I could look back, and I’ve wasted the last two years of my life because he’s played infrequently, he’s been injured and played poorly,” Williams told The New Zealand Herald.
“I was prepared to hang in there through thick and thin, so I find the timing extraordinary.”
Now, Tiger turns to Bryon Bell, a childhood friend who previously served as president of Tiger Woods Design. Bell has caddied for Tiger three times and has a strong track record, albeit with a decidedly different player than Woods has been of late:
1st – 1999 Buick Invitational
2nd – 2000 Buick Invitational
T2 – 2003 Disney Invitational
But Bell is no caddy; he’s a glorified yes man. Bell has been widely reported as the man who knew too much of Woods’ personal comings-and-goings before it became Page Six-style front page news. Bell was “Enabler No. 1” and now he’s “Advisor No. 1.”
“(Bell) would coordinate my flight itineraries and make sure I was all set up to see Tiger,” alleged Tiger mistress Jamie Jungers told The New York Daily News. “He was a very nice guy.”
If Bell were really up to the task at hand, he would have advised Woods to make a better caddy selection. A good caddy (and friend) knows when to agree and when to offer another option. Bell is already 0-for-1 in advising Woods in an unbiased, honest way.
Tiger doesn’t need another lacky. He has plenty of those on the payroll already.