So I went back this weekend and I was thinking about something – Shaq and Kobe to be precise. It made me think of Tiger Woods and Steve Williams and their breakup. When Shaq and Kobe broke up, I ranted about it (http://wp.me/p11SoH-3) and I said it then, long-term…Kobe is going to win this deal. Short-term, Shaq goes to Miami and wins a championship. Almost everybody – and because most people are followers “oh man, Kobe is a bum” no, long term…Jerry West was right! The Lakers knew that Kobe worked harder in practice, he gave you 80 games a year, and Shaq was down to about 58 – 60. Shaq was a big athlete who would fall apart – centers usually do.
Though for the first year or two of their separation – Shaq was the winner. Yet the smart people and the smart money always knew that Kobe was the guy you had to keep. Shaq is now out of the league, has problems off the court (look it up your self) and Kobe is still a premier star in the NBA who can win another couple of championships if the pieces around him arrive. Sometimes people win short-term yet big picture, Kobe/Shaq…you had to choose? You take Kobe! Jerry West – smarter than all of us in basketball, knew it!
This past Sunday, Steve Williams beat Tiger Woods yet long term…Tiger will be okay. He’ll never be 97’ – 07’ Tiger, but he’ll win tournaments, he’ll get back up to speed. But Steve Williams, the caddie, had an oppourtunity to offer perspective, to say smart things…yet caddie guy went out and basically credited himself with winning the tournament. It would’ve been a great time to say “We [Adam Scott] had a great tournament, we’re friends and I was so thankful that he [Adam Scott] allowed me to elevate us”
But instead, in a one minute interview – read this out loud on what Steve Williams said, read and see if you can pick out the word that Steve Williams said a dozen times in a minute interview “I was told on the phone the details as to why I was fired and it was discussed for my own personal stuff. I was fairly confident that we’d get along pretty good; I didn’t think people realized how difficult the PGA tour is, I can’t help it, I love carrying the clubs and love doing the job. I guess I realized that if you love something that much…it’s not a problem…”
I, me, I, I, me…a caddy? It felt like a dad taking credit for the birth of a child “Man! That was my greatest birth ever…I endured the labor pains quite nicely. They were unbearable, but I mean…I came through it! It was a really hard 9 months for me” well dude, like a caddy you had something to say…”but that was mostly nice months ago, that’s why I guess they say you should always let the wife name the kids. You’re doing all the hard stuff – I’m sorta watching, I did my work 9 months ago, the rest of it is up to you and you get to name the kids”. That’s what Steve Williams felt like when after the tournament on Sunday, he said things like “I only…”, “I never look back…” “It’s all about winning for me…”Dude, you’re a caddy.
Bill Belicheck is a football coach – perhaps the best one in the land. Bill Belicheck – who could take a lot more credit than what he does, because I mean none of us denies that coaching is huge in football. In baseball, not so much and likewise in basketball, but in football, none of us deny that the difference between a good coach and an average coach – you know, Ray Rhodes and Belicheck or Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid, Rex Ryan and somebody else…coaching matters!
Read closely to what Belicheck said last week where – unlike Steve Williams, read what Belicheck last week said when they signed Ochocinco, pay close attention to the word that he kept referring to “…we’ve been involved in some of those as well, we’re in the process of seeing how that goes and we’ll talk about it when it’s done…we haven’t even stepped foot on the field , we haven’t gotten into a huddle yet, we’ll take it day by day and see how it goes. We have different people who are at different stages of practice, we have players in all different categories and we’re still actually working through some things…” We, we’ll, we’re…this coming from a guy who could take all the credit in the world. Phil Jackson never said “I won” it’s “we”, Kobe, the Lakers.
I’m not arguing that Steve Williams – like any elite caddy, can’t help. But if the average par 4 on the tour is 440 yards and the average drive for Adam Scott or Tiger Woods is 290? And since I figure that every golfer can figure out their own wedge and putter…to some degree, a caddies biggest golf choice, their biggest help is that 2nd shot on the par 4. It’s not like Adam Scott would grab a 2 if he’s 143 yards out – he’s probably grabbing a 7 or an 8. Perhaps a guy can line up a putt and help you, but it’s not like Adam Scott looks at a putt “this dog is moving left!” and Steve Williams says “oh no no, it’s going far right”
I’m not disputing what a caddy can mean, a set of eyeballs, in any industry…it helps! But it felt like Albert Pujols – his batboy coming to the microphone and saying “man, I was really in the groove today. I was in a slump but I bounced out of it really well, 3 for 4 felt great to me” You handed him a bat, your handing him a golf club! I mean, all these pro golfers have been golfing since they were 6 or 7, Adam Scott is 31. That’s 25, 26 years in the tour – I’m pretty sure he knows what club to grab. I thought it was a moment like the Shaq and Kobe, everybody is going to jump on the “yeah, Steve Williams is the man” bandwagon…short term thinkers! In the moment, congrats to Steve but I guarantee you that there are pro golfers all over North America, PGA pro’s, nationwide guys who are saying to themselves “that freakin caddie needs to get over himself” I thought it looked really bad – even for the moment, congrats to Steve Williams
Adam Scott is an easy guy to root for, he’s an Aussie and Steve Williams is a New Zealander. Adam, after the event – who is actually pretty funny said “I’ve just been pretty much getting hazzled with questions about him, but that’s alright I can talk about Steve, now I’m not Tiger cause I had no idea how popular a New Zealander could be, coming from Australia…” It should be noted that Adam Scott, even before Williams, had started 10 events, had won $1.2 million with 11 events left. Adam Scott was on pace to win about $2.1 million dollars this year…without Steve Williams, that’s a really nice year on the tour. Adam Scott has been a really good golfer for years, some say he is a little timid; maybe Steve Williams’ ego helps him a tad. But again, in the moment I thought it was a great oppourtunity for a caddy or somebody to step up and say “we did it, we’re really excited about the future, and we make a really good team” I didn’t think that’s what Steve Williams did.