When Adam Scott canned his birdie putt on the second hole of overtime Sunday and became the first Australian ever to win a Masters tournament, he was not alone in the limelight. If history is a guide, Tiger Woods’ former bagman, Steve Williams, is sure to claim his fair share of the glory for helping Scott earn his first major championship.
Williams has been relatively quiet since he upstaged his Scott when his then-new employer won the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational and Woods’ ex claimed it was his own “best win” ever -- despite handing the clubs to Woods in 13 of his 14 major Ws. After Sunday, we’re bound to hear soon enough from Stevie, whom Woods fired in June of 2011 and who has never been shy about claiming credit for his incredible looping skills.
A win for Scott, who entered Sunday’s finale at Augusta one shot off the 54-hole lead of Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera’s 7-under, exorcised the demons of his utter collapse at last year’s British Open, a meltdown he blamed partially on his caddie.
“Yeah, we left it a few days for each to think about, and then we had a chat in the middle of the week. Obviously we're both disappointed with the outcome,” Scott told reporters last August, on the eve of his title defense at the 2012 Bridgestone Invitational, the scene of the “greatest week” of Williams’ life.
“We're both disappointed, I think, in both of our performances because we didn't get the job done,” Scott said. “ And hindsight is always a great thing, but it's 50/50 because you never really know what would have happened if you did something different.”
On Masters Sunday, Scott said he was counting on Williams to help him to his first major championship on a course the veteran caddie knows so well after handing Woods the clubs in three of his four Masters wins.
“It's just great for me to know that you've got a rock on the bag next to you,” Scott told reporters Saturday about the benefits of having Williams beside him for Sunday’s finale. “He's solid.”
Stevie’s expertise on the course proved invaluable to Scott, who entered the final round of the Open Championship with a four-shot lead and finished with a 75 and a shot shy of lifting the claret jug. The growing trust between the two was also critical, said the nine-time PGA Tour winner, who conceded after the blowup at Royal Lytham that he and Williams “didn’t quite match it up on the last few holes.”
With a long birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Augusta National sealing a spot, at 9-under, in a sudden-death playoff with Cabrera, that’s all history. For sure, golfer and caddie made it clear they could handle the pressures of Sunday at Augusta better than they did in the U.K. Scott, for one, believed they would.
“I know he's got a level of comfort around this place and he's realizing, too, that I've developed a level of comfort,” he said. “We are not treading on each other's toes too much out there. More and more we are on the same wavelength, so that's what you're looking for in this kind of relationship.”