Scott wins with Williams on the bag
Adam Scott made doubly sure of his berth in the WGC-HSBC Champions for Shanghai when he added the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to his Singapore Open title. The 31-year-old Australian returned a last round 66 at Firestone to finish at 17 under par and four ahead of Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler. Jason Day and Ryo Ishikawa closed five shots back.
At the end of three rounds, Scott had been one ahead of the 19-year-old Ishikawa. Things remained that close over the first 11 holes but then came a run in which Scott chipped in at the 12th and holed a 30-footer at the 14th to move three clear. At the 15th, Ishikawa gave him a helping hand by taking three-putts.
"I felt good today," said Scott, who had gone 26 holes on the tough and tree-lined course without a bogey. "I stayed positive and picked my moments."
For years, Scott has been in the shade of his golfing God of a compatriot, Greg Norman. Yesterday, not that he minded, he was once again somewhat overshadowed, this time by his caddie, Steve Williams.
For Williams, this was an eighth WGC-Bridgestone Invitational triumph. He had won the other seven in tandem with Tiger Woods and, with Woods having dispensed with his services in advance of last week's championship, the crowd were pulling for him as much as they were for Scott. Not too many caddies can have had their names intoned by the crowd as they walked on to a home green. "Steeevie, Steeevie Williams," came the cry.
Scott merely smiled and afterwards commented, lightly, on how he and the other players had been fielding "Tiger questions" for years - and now the questions were all about Williams. "It makes a change," he laughed.
Williams looked for all the world as if he had a lighter load on his back. Caddying for a 14-times major winner such as Woods has its pressures and those who saw Williams at Royal St George's, where he was working with Scott while Woods was still getting over his injury problems, could not but comment on the differences. As someone said, he looked a good ten years younger.
All of a sudden, he was back to the "pure caddying" which had first taken his fancy some 20 years ago. With Woods, in contrast, Williams was forever having to police the crowd and to make space for his player on the practice ground. "Everyone wants to say something to Tiger when he's trying to work and it's my job to make a tactful job of keeping them at bay," he said at one of his old employer's more recent events.
One of the things which Williams used to admire most about Woods was his ability to keep trying, no matter what. The 2008 US Open was a case in point. That week, Woods could barely walk - and almost certainly did his leg untold damage as he won what was the most recent of his 14 majors. "Tiger," said Williams at the time, "is the only player I have ever known who doesn't rush when things are no longer going his way. I don't think I have ever seen him give less than 100%."
As he will already have discovered, Scott can be much the same. The Australian has always been seen as something of an under-achiever - as, indeed, applied to Darren Clarke before he won this year's Open. Now, with as experienced and inspirational a caddie as Williams at his side, he could go from strength to strength.
Woods, for the record, finished in a share of 37th place but was by no means disconsolate. He had enjoyed a pain-free week, while his run of three successive birdies on his last nine holes reminded him that the old magic is not too far away.
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