As you can read in this book review by Jaime Diaz of the recent biography of the caddie days of Steve Williams the book has been generally panned by the reviewing pundits as a sensationalist hanging out of Tiger Woods dirty laundry.
But Diaz does not agree with this assessment and he feels that when the reader looks beyond the few charged quotes being used by the publishers to market the book Williams actually gives a fairly balanced account of his experiences with the players he has worked for, the most famous of whom was Tiger Woods. Diaz says of Williams, “For all his gruffness, he’s intelligent, insightful, frank, and on his subject, extremely knowing. On balance, he’s given us an important golf book”.
Jaime Diaz is the most insightful golf writer of his generation and having read the book I see where he is coming from. The book is a detailed compilation of Steve Williams’s interpretation of incidents and relationships with Tiger and others that we may not have previously understood for lack of transparency. But I think Diaz overstates how important the book is as a contribution to our golf knowledge.
This is your basic “lift and tell” book which sounds like a transcript of Williams talking into a dictaphone at his kitchen table. The writing is very mundane it takes an effort to keep reading and honestly Williams is not that interesting of a subject to write about. Williams is a smart guy, successful sportsman, and very capable caddie, no doubt he influenced the careers of a number of great players in a positive way, including Eldrick. But like many others before and after him, Williams was also a lacky for Tiger and Steinberg doing their bidding to protect the brand.
What I got more than anything from this read is how sterile a character Tiger is. He was a trained automaton by his father and pretty much guided awkwardly through all his personal foibles by his agent and his handlers. Tiger’s attitude toward the other pros, the fans, and the people whose efforts benefited his career lacks any humility or personal sensibility.
Tiger has never been, and still remains, not his own man. For all the money and fame he just lacks the simplest interactive social skills to treat people with honesty and integrity. I blame this on his upbringing which clearly emphasized it is always about winning and nothing else.
If there is any contribution from this book for me it is Williams accounting of Tiger behaviors while they were together that confirm Tiger’s lack of personality. To anyone who has watched the Tiger drama unfold over the last twenty plus years this was always pretty obvious. So I do not share with Diaz that this book is a significant add to the public knowledge and, IMHO, it may not even be a wise use of four to six hours of your reading time.
Steve Williams (2015)