x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

It pays to work with Tiger Woods

There is sure to be a big demand to be the next caddie alongside Tiger Woods despite his lack of success in recent years.

Tiger Woods, left with his former caddie Steve Williams, is sure to have plenty of offers when he hires a replacement.
Tiger Woods, left with his former caddie Steve Williams, is sure to have plenty of offers when he hires a replacement.

Steve Williams has made more money out of golf than most players and he has never hit a single shot in a professional tournament.

The New Zealander became rich (some estimate he is worth Dh36 million) because he was Tiger Woods's caddie during his great years.

Williams was the bagman for 13 of the American's 14 major wins and while he could be blunt with the media, photographers and even fans when he felt they were making too much noise, few would suggest he was anything other than great at his job.

And yet Woods sacked Williams last week, apparently completely out of the blue, despite the Kiwi standing by him throughout the scandal of his personal life.

"It will take a long time for him to win back my respect," said Williams, who will now take up full-time with Adam Scott, who he had been helping on a temporary basis while Woods recovered from his latest injury.

It will not take Woods as long to find another caddie, even if his star is on the wane.

Lawrence Donnegan, the golf writer for Britain's Guardian newspaper, wrote a book chronicling his season caddying for Ross Drummond.

This week he revealed how many would fancy filling Williams's shoes working alongside Woods when he returns to the course.

"Trust me, Lawrence," one leading player said. "There would be a queue from Los Angeles to Miami for that job."

Caddies get paid, on average, Dh6,000 a week, if they work for one of the top players, and that includes weeks when there are no tournaments. Then they receive a percentage of a player's earnings, normally 10 per cent of a winning cheque, and that would go down to five per cent for anything else.

When you consider Woods won close to US$75million (Dh275m) with Williams by his side, it goes some way to explaining how he became the best paid caddie of all time and why so many would want his job, even if the former world No 1's best days may be behind him.

"A good caddie is worth one shot a round and when you add that up then it's the difference between winning and losing a tournament," said Phil Mickelson, who has had Jim "Bones" Mackay with him for 20 years.

"Bones not only helps with shot-making and reading putts, but he is great at knowing what to say and when to say it. Having him on my bag is one of the most fortunate things to happen in my life.

"I am the one hitting the golf ball, however, I cannot emphasise enough how much this guy has helped me in what has been a great career."

If Woods is to ever get back on top, his next appointment had better be the right one. He won't be short of offers.

Golf this week

European Tour

Sweden’s Alexander Noren, below, won his home tournament, the Nordea Masters, by seven shots with a total score of 15-under par. This was his third career victory and the second this season after the Welsh Open. Richard Finch, the runner up, had no chance of catching Noren, who led from start to finish.

Race To Dubai rankings

Name Nat Prize Money

1 Donald Eng 3,156,696

2 Schwartzel RSA 1,896,485

3 McIlroy NI 1,764,085

4 Kaymer Ger 1,601,551

5 Westwood Eng 1,511,803

PGA Tour

Sean O’Hair defeated Kris Blanks in a play-off at the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday for his fourth career victory. With the win – Blanks lipped out from five feet at the first extra hole – the previously out of form O’Hair jumped from 147th to 43rd in the FedEx Cup standings.

World rankings

1. Luke Donald, England

2. Lee Westwood, England

3. Martin Kaymer, Germany4. Rory McIlroy, N Ireland

5. Steve Stricker, USA

The Irish Open

Place:Kilarney, Ireland (today-Sunday)

Prize Money:€1.5 million (Dh7.8m)

Defending Champion: Ross Fisher

The Greenbrier Classic

Place: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (today-Sunday)

Prize Money: US$6m (Dh22m)

Defending champion: Stuart Appleby


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