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Golf

Will Woods' caddie split affect his game?

Woods loses his bully

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

Lucky guy, that Steve Williams. Now that he no longer has to carry Tiger Woods' bag, we can find out if he's actually a decent guy.

For the last 12 years, he played the role of PGA Tour goon. He put a photographer's camera in a pond at the 2002 Skins Game and snatched a camera from a fan at the 2004 U.S. Open. That fan turned out to be an off-duty policeman.

But that's what Woods needed. The Superstar Formerly Known as Tiger surrounds himself with two types of people — sycophantic yes men and bullies. Now he has lost a guy who was willing to do his dirty work and keep his secrets. You bet it will affect his game, and in a bad way.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Only in heat of major

Jeff Shain

Orlando Sentinel

Does Williams' absence speed up the healing process for Woods' troublesome left knee? Or help him find more fairways? Don't think so.

In the end, the golfer still has to execute every shot. As good as Williams is, he's not going to transform a 2-handicap into a PGA Tour winner.

Likewise, Woods' classic best likely was still good enough to win 10 of his 14 majors with Larry the Cable Guy toting his bag.

Where Williams could be missed is down the stretch of whatever next major Woods gets himself into contention. That's where chemistry and understanding your boss pays dividends. Woods eventually may get to that point with his new looper, but it takes time.

jshain@tribune.com

Williams knew him well

Kevin Van Valkenburg

Baltimore Sun

Firing caddie Steve Williams isn't going to improve Woods' golf game. In fact, there is a good chance it will only multiply his inner doubts. Williams knows Woods' game better than anyone.

In his prime, Woods was a bully on the golf course, and Williams was his pit bull. He kept the massive galleries out of arm's reach and snarled at photographers when they tried to document history a microsecond too soon. Will a kinder, gentler caddie be able to offer Woods the same comforts? Will he be able to explain candidly to Woods he can't hit a 225-yard 6-iron anymore?

The old Woods is gone. Whoever emerges next still can be a great player, but he needs all the allies he can get.

kvanvalkenburg2@tribune.com

Woods has bigger woes

Diane Pucin

Los Angeles Times

It's not a happy parting. At least Steve Williams isn't happy. It's assumed Tiger Woods is. And whatever makes Woods happy is good for his golf game, right?

These days, not much seems to make Woods happy.

Now it's the caddie's fault? Considering the physical issues Woods obviously has and the emotional issues one can only imagine Woods has, his game isn't going to get better or worse because Williams isn't carrying his bag.

What ditching Williams indicates is something about Woods' methods. If others found Williams abrasive and even rude, he never spoke badly of Woods. Tiger might not be calling Williams anymore, but book agents probably are. Loyalty is not a club in Tiger's bag.

dpucin@tribune.com

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