Tiger Woods was too busy telling the world how thrilled he was with his T37th finish after Sunday’s final round at the Bridgestone Invitational to scold his ex-caddie for his post-Firestone rip job. So the world’s now 30th-ranked golfer sent his agent Mark Steinberg out to do his dirty work.
“I’m stunned I’ve had to talk about this situation last night and today after Adam Scott’s good win,” Steinberg told Golfweek Monday morning after Steve Williams took a swipe at his former boss when he boasted that his time as Scott’s new looper at Firestone was “the greatest week of my life.”
Those 13 championships as Tiger’s bagman? Feh, Williams seemed to sniff. But it was Stevie’s claim that Woods fired him over the phone that sent Steinberg ‘round the twist.
“I feel sorry for Adam,” Steiny said, pointedly noting that the guy handling Scott’s luggage had upstaged his new employer’s convincing four-stroke triumph. “But I’m tired of [Woods] taking shots for two years. When someone says something patently false, I feel the need to speak up. To say he [Williams] didn’t get fired face-to-face is ludicrous and tiring.”
You see, Woods said he manned up and handed Stevie his walking papers when the two met after June’s AT&T National. Williams said, nuh uh, he didn’t. And Tiger’s like, uh huh. And Stevie goes, no way.
While the two duked it out, “Jersey Shore”-style, Tiger’s mouthpiece Mark Soltau took to the web to spin Woods’ 1-over 281 finish as some kind of moral victory. Actually, when you consider that his boss finished 78th out of 80 places last year on a course he used to own, Soltau may have a point.
“After rough start, Tiger soars to finish at Firestone,” read the headline of Soltau’s post on tigerwoods.com. The way Soltau spun it, Woods offset his trouble off the tee (he hit five of 15 on Sunday and was DFL among the 76 players in the field), with “stellar” iron play.
Anyone else sensing a new definition of “winning” for the erstwhile No. 1 golfer? Despite telling the press his expectations remained the same prior to last week’s Firestone tilt, Woods appeared to have a change of heart after posting an even-par 70 on Sunday.
Now, apparently, hoisting the trophy is no longer Woods’ sole objective.
“Considering Woods hadn’t played competitive golf in three months,” Soltau wrote, “he was pleased with his overall performance.
“’Absolutely encouraged,” Woods agreed. “I hadn’t played since April, so it’s been a while.’”
No. 30 said his goal was just to “keep plodding along.
“You have to understand, I’m fresh. I haven’t played, so it’s nice for me to get out in this competitive atmosphere, no matter how I was playing just to figure out how to score because I haven’t been forced to score,” Woods explained in his primer, Golfing for Idiots. “At home, playing money games with my buddies is just not the same as being out there and being forced to have to post a score.”
Given that Woods’ previous comeback ended after nine holes and a hacker-like 42 at the Players Championship in mid-May, just finishing 72 holes (there was no cut last week) may have been enough for Tiger.
“[My leg] feels great,” Woods said. “It’s a different kind of feeling.”
It was unclear if Tiger were referring solely to his physical health or the experience of being, as the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan put it, “Just Another Golfer.”