Those wondering whether he’d engage in some caddysmack, though, likely left disappointed. Woods chose not to fuel the situation involving his former caddie, Steve Williams, who created a stir Sunday after his new boss, Adam Scott, won the Bridgestone Invitational by four shots.
Williams, who was on the bag for 13 of Woods’s 14 major championships and was admittedly disappointed by being let go last month, called this latest victory the most satisfying of his career in interviews that shocked some, upset others, and took some of the focus off the year’s final major.
Woods was asked about Williams and his comments eight times during his pretournament interview, but didn’t have much to say. Predictably, he wasn’t willing to criticize, speculate, or share his feelings.
“I was happy to see Stevie and Adam win,’’ said Woods. “Adam’s been a friend of mine. Same with Stevie. I sent Stevie a nice text, congratulating him on his win. It was good to see them play as great as they did.’’
Has he had any discussion with Williams since Sunday?
“I think that’s between Stevie and myself.’’
As for the Atlanta television station catching Williams and Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, having a 15-minute chat near the clubhouse on Tuesday?
Williams chose to speak to the media after years of not giving many interviews while employed by Woods, and said a lot of intemperate things. Was Woods surprised by that?
When pressed, he finally offered a little more.
“I’m not going to speculate on Steve,’’ Woods said. “Those are obviously his feelings and his emotions, and his decision to say what he wants to say.’’
For his part, Williams offered an apology yesterday - but it wasn’t directed at Woods.
“There has been considerable debate following the comments I made at the conclusion of Sunday’s Bridgestone Invitational,’’ Williams said in a statement posted on his website. “My emotions following Adam’s win were running very high and at the time I felt like my emotions poured out and got the better of me.
“I apologize to my fellow caddies and professionals for failing to mention Adam’s outstanding performance. I would like to thank all those fans at Firestone who made this victory the most special of my career.’’
There were non-caddie questions for Woods, too. He’ll have childhood friend Bryon Bell working for him again this week in a temporary arrangement - Bell caddied when Woods won the 1996 US Amateur - and he said he’s pain-free and ready to resume the chase for this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs and the record 18 majors owned by Jack Nicklaus.
“The goal is to win every tournament I play in, so that’s not going to change. But I think the first thing is I had to get healthy in order to get back to that level,’’ said Woods, who injured his knee and Achilles’ tendon at the Masters in April, withdrew after just nine holes at the Players Championship in May, and hadn’t played until last week. “I hadn’t been able to practice, hadn’t been able to work on my game. It all started with being healthy first, and now I can start playing again.’’
How much more he plays this year, though, depends on this week.
Those hoping to see Woods at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in three weeks should be rooting for him at the PGA Championship. Because Woods is not playing next week in Greensboro, N.C., this is the last tournament for him to earn points. He is 124th in the FedEx Cup standings, and only the top 125 after next week’s tournament will qualify for the playoff opener. The Deutsche Bank is the second playoff event, so he’ll need to be among the top 100 to play in Norton.