Woods' caddie in surprise link-up with Scott for the US Open

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods may not be at the US Open, but his caddie is. In a move which inevitably lead to speculation concerning his future with the former world No 1, Steve Williams has agreed to work with Adam Scott at Congressional this week.

Both Williams and Woods' management were keen to stress the temporary nature of this surprising link up with the Australian professional. "No, no, of course I'm still working for Tiger," so Williams told Foxsports.com. "He's just helping him out this week," so his agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN.com. "Adam is between caddies right now."

Scott confirmed the briefness of the relationship. "With Tiger injured this was a great opportunity to have a caddie like Steve fill in," said the world No 21, who recently split with his long-time bagman, Tony Navarro. "It is just a temporary thing till Tiger returns. I am grateful that he wanted to do it."

Yet Woods does not yet know when he will return so the pairing could last a while; a prospect which is such to raise the whispers, particular as the New Zealander has caddied for Woods and Woods alone for 13 years. Williams had already travelled over from his Auckland farm when Woods announced his leg injuries would not allow him to tee it up in Washington and was about to make the long trip back when Scott called. How would Woods feel if Scott, who finished second in the Masters in April, now wins the major many consider is long overdue? Indeed, how would Williams feel?

These were just some of the questions swirling in Maryland as the field began to assemble at Congressional, 10 miles east of the capital. Another talking point was the decision to pair the world's top three together. If anything will highlight to America their poor representation at the very peak of the rankings it is the sight of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer forming the marquee threeball.

Meanwhile, Britain's Robert Rock ended a nine-year wait and 209 events for a European Tour victory when he claimed the Italian Open title yesterday. A closing five-under 67 for a 21-under 267 total left the 34-year-old a stroke better than Thorbjorn Olesen and Gary Boyd.