‘Just Broke Down’: Tiger Woods’s Caddie Steve Williams Reveals An Unseen Side of the Legend After Earl’s Death

Published 02/12/2024, 9:00 AM EST

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Losing a loved one is a devastation no one would ever want to feel. However, Tiger Woods experienced it up close in 2006. For the first time in his life, the legendary golfer would not have his father by his side. Earl Woods passed away in May 2006 due to prostate cancer. Two months later, Woods showcased one of his most emotional victories ever at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

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The story that unfolded back then is now narrated again by his former caddie, Steve Williams! The golfer hugged Williams tightly while crying his eyes out in remembrance of his father.

Emotional Tiger Woods kept clinging on to Steve Williams

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At the Dom Harvey Podcast, Tiger Woods’s former bagman, Steve Williams, presented some of his life’s special moments on and off the golf course. And it would’ve been odd if Woods’s name hadn’t come through because the two had spent more than a decade together. Talking about his life with Woods, Williams talked about the day when Woods won his last Open Championship.

It was 2006. Woods was the reigning champion and was still mourning the death of his father. As they approached the 18th greens, Williams described that it was a “gray overcast sort of day,” and “kind of eerie”, yet, “from about 100 meters, the sun shone through.” While walking together, Williams told him, “That’s your father looking down on you.”

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However, Woods, who has always been composed on the golf course, did not give any reaction. The sun was still shining bright, Williams recalled, and Woods “putt [18th hole] it out” and then “just broke down”. The former caddie explained that “no one had ever seen that side of Tiger,” he usually “doesn’t show any emotions.” But that day, Woods was not separating from Williams. He said, “he just, he was clinging on to me.”

When they earned the victory, Williams once reminisced that he also said to Woods, “This one is for dad.” The unexplainable emotions had taken over the three-time Open Championship winner, and he hugged his caddie and then wife, Elin Nordegren. Woods later described one reason why he let his emotions get the better of him.

Woods’s one wish at the 2006 Open Championship

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Two months or two decades—no amount of time passed can lower the pain of losing a parent. And in 2006, it had been only sixty days. Woods lost his guiding light; Earl Woods had shaped him and his skills. He taught him to not let “emotions get the better of you” and “Just use your mind to plot your way around the golf course.” Woods heard and did exactly that in his career.

But after he won The Open in 2006, every pent-up emotion took over him. He explained that “I’m kind of the one who bottles things up a little bit and moves on, tries to deal with things in my own way.” However, that day, “all the things that my father has meant to me and the game of golf” just hit him harder.

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Daily Mail reported that Woods said, “I just wish he could have seen it one more time.” That was his last Open Championship victory at Royal Liverpool. The 3-time Claret Jug victor shared that if he plays at the next British Open, he may not be able to play at the Hoylake again.

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Written by:

Khambe Huda Imran

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Huda Khambe is a Golf Writer for EssentiallySports. Growing up watching Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam bag one major after the other, Huda Khambe set herself on a path to becoming a sports writer early on. With a year of prior experience in writing, Huda now brings the greens to life with her unique insights on her favorite storylines, such as Jack Nicklaus's record rivalry with Tiger Woods and its impact on both stars.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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