That’s Angelo Argea in a suggestive pose worthy of an NFL Picks post. Argea was Jack’s most well-known caddy, but I imagine only the truly dedicated golf fan has any idea who he is, and maybe a few more would recognize him. Other than that, caddying for the best golfer in the world, Argea had about as much profile as the guys who wield the Quiet signs in the gallery.
The first caddy I ever knew by sight was Herman Mitchell, who carried for Lee Trevino. He was recognizable to me partly because Trevino was the dominant and charismatic figure on the Senior Tour, and partly because Herman was just a mountain of a man. He’d go 350 easy, I imagine, and the bag looked a backpack slung over his shoulder. Still, I don’t remember Herman doing many interviews. Trevino might bring him in to share a laugh after a win, but that was about it.
Of course, I’m leading into what Steve Williams said after Adam Scott won the tournament on Sunday. I was not watching, but I immediately got a few messages about Steve trashing Tiger on the air. Steve was scorned, his ego was dented a bit, perhaps he was a little punch drunk on victory, and he just let Tiger have it. He contested the terms of his dismissal. He claimed working for Scott was more fun than anything else in his career and the win on Sunday was his most gratifying as a caddy. All of that very well could be true, but really Stevie? You’re going to air this publicly?
I wonder if Williams recognized that if he had not been Tiger’s caddy then there wouldn’t have been a microphone in his face on Sunday evening. If Williams had left Lee Westwood’s bag to take on Adam Scott, then he would have been having a beer and getting the things together for the trip to the PGA after the round and not holding court with the press. I know Stevie’s feelings were hurt, but how about a little professionalism? There’s no part of him that realizes he made 8 figures off of Tiger and he’d be looking at a fraction of that if he was anyone else’s caddy, regardless of his skills on the course?
It was all a little bit too, “how do you like me now,” for my taste. Williams even went on to talk about the tournaments “he’s won.” I don’t remember ever seeing Stevie slide into a green jacket or raise a trophy. He’s the guy at the end of the round who is unscrewing the flag off the pin on the 18th green. I don’t want to belittle the caddies, but I think they’ve progressed from being grossly under-appreciated to overrated. Back when they weren’t making dick-ola and were lucky to have a full-time gig, they probably deserved a bit more respect. Now, in the Phil/Bones era, I think we might overstate their role with the players.
After all, Adam Scott almost won the Masters this year with his former caddy. A former caddy by the way who also once carried for Greg Norman and was pretty decorated in his own right. And, look at a guy like Dustin Johnson. At the British Open it’s Joe LaCava on the bag, but the same old results on the course. If I’m Adam Scott, I really want no part of the Steve Williams redemption tour. The gallery was chanting Stevie’s name on Sunday? Are you serious? Scott seems to be a very relaxed guy, so I doubt it’s an issue, but I wouldn’t want Stevie spouting off about what he’s bringing to the table or how he’s helping my game, etc. If the player wants to give that credit, fine. When the caddy starts taking it for himself, it rubs me the wrong way.
I can’t imagine what Tiger must be thinking right now. He has to feel a bit powerless, because his only real response would be to go out and win the PGA with Bryon Bell on the bag–a guy who no one would confuse with an experienced, great caddy. It’ll be hard for him to do that, though, because he just can’t find his game, or hasn’t had the time to find it again. He’s stuck taking these body blows, and he likely deserves most of them. Maybe he was a jerk to Williams for their entire relationship, but you didn’t get that impression. It feels more like a divorce and now Williams is trying to “win the breakup.”
I was never a huge fan of Stevie while he was with Tiger and while some people are giving him credit for opening up and being honest about things, this just turned me off even more.