One of the great joys of watching PGA golf used to be the sight of Tiger Woods' caddy, Steve Williams, barking at spectators, snarling at photographers and generally stomping around the course with Tiger's bag like he owned the joint.
Sadly, all that has come to an end.
We learned yesterday that Woods, who is resting his balky knee and keeping a decidedly low profile on the PGA Tour, has fired Williams after 13 years together.
Woods put up the usual lame star-caddy parting blather on his web site, expressing his deepest gratitude to Williams for all his years of service, saying it was time for a change and blah, blah, blah.
But Williams, who has been working for the Australian golfer Adam Scott recently, said on his web site that the firing "came as a shock" and that he was "disappointed" that Woods was letting him go.
I'd be disappointed, too, if I were Williams.
No, check that. I'd be suicidal. Tiger Woods made Steve Williams a millionaire.
According to businessinsider.com: "Since 1999, Tiger's earnings have totaled $88.3 millioj with Williams standing nearby. Typically, a PGA caddy earns 10 per cent of a player's winnings. That means Williams has taken home more than $8.8 million in 12 years. Not bad for guessing at yardage and screaming at fans with cameras."
Amen. And unless Adam Scott's career suddenly goes on a soaring trajectory for the next 10 years, Williams won't come close to making the dough he made previously -- not that anyone's going to have to throw a fundraiser for him.
But the Tour won't be the same without Williams rough-housing Tiger's vast galleries and cowing the scribes and photographers who followed Tiger inside the ropes.
Steve Williams shot-putting a $10,000 Nikon into a pond because the photographer snapped Tiger during his backswing -- that'll be my golden memory of their years together.
Oh, look at that, I'm starting to tear up. Missing the big lug already.