Monday Robert Lusetich of FoxSports.com was the first to bring up the possible ouster of Tiger Woods caddy Steve Williams.
A high-profile golfer has been laying bets that Williams would be axed and replaced with Billy Foster, a well-respected Englishman who caddies for Lee Westwood.
Foster, who said last week that he knew nothing of any such plan, filled in for Williams at the 2005 Presidents Cup so Williams could be with his wife, Kirsty, as she gave birth to their first son.
In the same piece, Williams confirmed to Lusetich that he will work The Masters, but now more speculation from a credible source is percolating that Williams will be replaced after Augusta. Veteran golf reporter Ryan Ballengee:
Steve Williams made no affirmation beyond Augusta National, and there is increasing talk that Tiger could be making a change on the bag sooner than later.
One indication from a source was that Fred Couples’ long time man, Joe LaCava, could be plucked by Woods to replace Stevie.
Of late Williams has continued to be weighed down by allegations that he knew of Woods’ extramarital affairs. He’s repeatedly (sometimes angrily) denied such claims, most recently leveled by alleged Woods mistress Joslyn James.
Today James produced an email she claimed was received from Tiger Woods Design President Bryon Bell confirming travel arrangements for her that helped facilitate a tryst with Woods in Charlotte in 2007:
Bell, who has known Woods since childhood and oversees his golf course design company, has also been cited via documents obtained by TMZ.com as enabling a meeting between Woods and Rachel Uchitel in Australia. That hookup is what produced the NATIONAL ENQUIRER story that ultimate brought down Woods.
While Bell has verifiable connections to the extramarital lifestyle of Woods, no such evidence yet exists to debunk the denials of Williams. But Woods mistress James, who is looking more credible by the day, has claimed that Williams knew who she was.
Monday Williams specifically denied that allegation to Lusetich:
“I know this woman hasn’t met me in a nightclub with Tiger because I’ve never been to a nightclub with Tiger,” Williams told FOXSports.com Sunday from his home in New Zealand.
Here’s a quote from Williams - as part of his bio on Woods’ official website - about his relationship with the golfer:
We’ve become very good mates. We socialize together. It’s one of those things that’s developed, not something I planned on happening.”
If Woods is to carry on with his marriage, is it possible for him to maintain relationships with business associates who appear to have known about his extramarital affairs? With that in mind, I personally can’t imagine that Woods will be able to keep Bell under his current employ. But what about Williams?
There’s more gray area as to whether or not Williams knew anything, but the mere suspicion - and new, seemingly credible accusation from James - will serve to eternally remind the possibility.
With The Masters being such a critical tournament to Woods in every possible way, it’s unfathomable that he’d play it without the trusted expertise of his longtime caddie. But after that, I could certainly see Woods jettisoning Williams - along with Bell - in an effort to persuade his wife and the public that he’s indeed a changed man.