I recently traveled to Auckland, New Zealand to sit down with Tiger Woods' former caddy Steve Williams for his first extensive interview since being fired by Tiger. The interview is for a new episode of In Depth. Fired by Tiger in July, Williams opens up about Tiger's scandal, the fallout, the circumstances leading up to his firing, and his most memorable moments working with Tiger. Williams also speaks about his career as a caddy starting at a very young age, his love for auto racing and his significant charitable contributions.
Steve Williams says that Tiger Woods will never break Jack Nicklaus' all-time major record.
Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors in his career. He holds that record for most major victories. Tiger has won 14 majors. You told me you don't believe Tiger will catch or pass Nicklaus. Why do you think that is?
Williams: Well, if you look at it in the perspective that he has to have a career sort of equal to Phil Mickelson from here on in. Phil is a fantastic player and he has had four majors, the next best um number of major championships won besides Tiger in the time frame that Tiger has been playing on the tour, so he [Tiger] has to sort of replicate that kind of career um down the road here.
Steve Williams reflects back on 12 years with Tiger Woods:
After all of this, how well do you believe you knew Tiger?
Williams: Well not very well obviously. I mean that sort of goes without saying. You know I mean I guess I thought I knew him well and didn't.
Williams went on to say their relationship changed very quickly once they resumed working together following Tiger's scandal: "...there's no question that it was a difficult time and um you know our relationship obviously deteriorated very quickly."
Steve Williams says when the scandal came out, it was the most difficult time of his life: "I just didn't like having my name associated with it. ...that sort of activity is not something um that I have anything to do with."
Williams says he understands why people believe he knew all along about Tiger's infidelities: "[If] somebody said to me, 'you know, Steve, this particular player has done these activities um... Would the caddy know?' Given the fact of the amount of time that I spent with Tiger and how close we were... it would be very difficult not to know and I agree with that."
Williams says had he known about Tiger's infidelities... he would not have hesitated to tell Tiger what he thought: "I don't agree with that sort of behavior. I mean I would have been strongly giving my piece of advice."
Steve Williams says he never asked Tiger anything about the 2009 car accident outside Tiger's home early in the morning after Thanksgiving: "I've never asked Tiger..... I don't need to know and don't want to know."
Steve Williams and his wife are close to Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordegren: "I don't change my opinion of her because she's not with Tiger anymore. A great person and um they have two lovely children... whilst the parents are not together, you know they are a great family and she is a lovely person."
Steve Williams admits he had an inkling that things were not going well with Tiger before he was fired. "...we didn't click when we both got back together back in April at Augusta... you know we certainly didn't click like we used to so, you always know things are going to come to an end at some time..."
Steve Williams addresses why he and Tiger have a different take on what happened when Williams was fired.
You said he fired you on the phone, he said he fired you in person. Why would Tiger lie?
Williams: I have my take on how it unfolded and he has his take on how it unfolded and that's how I will leave it.
Steve Williams on holding any grudges with Tiger after the firing. Williams replies, "I just felt the timing was a little unusual."
Steve Williams talks about the satisfaction of winning the tournament while caddying for Adam Scott at Firestone and acknowledges the comments he made after the win suggested he still had animosity towards Tiger. Williams also speaks about Tiger Woods congratulating him after the win: "He sent me a text after Adam won... I really respected that... you know things move on and um you know we'll see what happens in the future."
Steve Williams talks about how intimidating Tiger Woods was on the course when he was playing at his peak, but says things are not the same anymore: "Right now Tiger doesn't have that intimidation factor so that, that's part of his artillery that's not there anymore."
Steve Williams talks about what it was like to work with Tiger Woods and says his determination is top notch: "...You know the desire and the will to win. I have never come across anybody that just hates to lose. I mean running second is just ain't an option. He just didn't like that."
Steve Williams explains why he hung up on Tiger Woods and recalls some of their fondest memories together.
Steve Williams explains what he has done with people's cameras to help Tiger Woods.
Steve Williams tells about his one million dollar donation that is helping children with cancer.
Steve Williams says he does not get along with Phil Mickelson. Watch clip:
Steve Williams speaks about skills that have made him a successful caddy. Watch clip:
Steve Williams on quitting school to pursue caddying and the moment that changed his life. Watch clip:
Steve Williams tells funny stories of getting hit in the mouth and head with golf balls. Watch clip:
Steve Williams speaks about how lying to Greg Norman got Norman to hire him and their best memories. Watch clip:
Steve Williams gives a tour of his racing garage and tells about dirt racing, what it takes to build the cars and how his wife helps. Watch clip:
Steve Williams talks about the auto racing crash that sliced his finger off. Watch clip:
The Steve Williams episode (the clips contain bonus content unable to make the full episode due to time constraints):