Recently Tiger Woods fired his longtime caddy Steve Williams. It became a big story in the sports media because Williams had high visibility at Tiger’s many triumphs, and I would assume he knew a lot about Tiger’s personal travails.
The question that arises for me is, how important is a caddy to a professional golfer? Is a caddy more analogous to a personal assistant in business, or Tenzing Norgay who climbed Mount Everest in 1953 with Edmund Hillary?
Stevie Williams immediately hooked on to Adam Scott, a 31-year-old journeyman on tour from Australia who was “the next big thing” ten years ago, but never achieved the stardom predicted for him. He won his first tournament last Sunday, pocketing $500 grand. Was Williams the difference? You certainly can make a good circumstantial case for it.
When I started working in the family machinery business back in the 1960’s, my father had Aaron Pinkert as a minority partner. Aaron, I soon learned, was intelligent and friendly but was miscast in the rough-and-tumble trading world.
But Aaron provided a calmness and optimism to balance my Dad’s mood swings. Was Aaron his caddy, his Stevie Williams? Perhaps. He did not provide the energy and creativity to build a business, but my Dad might have crashed and burned without the support he provided.
The caddy for a golfer is a walking consultant on the course. The good ones buoy their spirits after a blown three foot putt, and may even question the choice of clubs and shot strategy if they have the ear of their pro.
For a wounded Tiger, hurting physically and mentally these days, I can understand the need to make a shift. Changing caddies could be healthy, especially if Steve Williams was perceived to be part of his problems.
A pro golfer hits his own drives, but it takes a team, an entourage, to put him in a position to succeed. In a business or a practice I think it is vital to surround yourself with positive people who compliment your skills. A successful person has talent, a unique ability that enables him or her to compete successfully.
Question: Have you experienced being a caddy, either literally or figuratively?