Woods sacks 'shocked' coach

 

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The Independent Online

Unlike many of Tiger Woods' jilted, Steve Williams could not be silenced. Last night the New Zealander reacted with thinly veiled fury when suddenly sacked as caddie after 13 years, 72 victories, 13 major victories and one very public scandal. "So much for loyalty" was the gist of the New Zealander's reaction.

Woods announced the news on his website, saying "it's time for a change" while "extending my deepest gratitude" to Williams. Woods called Williams "an outstanding caddie and a friend", although the latter claim may now be in doubt. Williams posted his response on his own website and it will not make happy reading to a Tiger camp desperately trying to rebuild the fallen icon's reputation.

"I am no longer caddying for Tiger after he informed me that he needed to make a change," said Williams. "After 13 years of loyal service, needless to say this came as a shock. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger's scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries, I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time."

Williams' anger barely needs spelling out, and it will be multiplied if it emerges Woods was upset with him for caddying for Adam Scott since his injury. The former world No 1 has played only nine holes since the Masters in April because of an injury to his Achilles and his troublesome left knee. Williams asked Woods' permission if he could fill in for Scott, who was without a caddy at the US Open.

The Kiwi had travelled over from his home in New Zealand to work for Woods, but as he was on his journey, Woods announced his injury would keep him out of the major.

Williams then caddied for Scott twice more, most recently at last week's Open at Sandwich. Rumours emerged in Kent of an impending split, although Williams intimated to an American journalist the pair were still together. Williams will now caddy for Scott on a permanent basis.

When the news broke, the spotlight immediately fell on Billy Foster, currently employed by Lee Westwood. The Yorkshireman caddied for Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup, when Williams was at the birth of his son, and is often referred to as the "best caddie in the world".

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