‘A-kicked’: Steve Williams recalls when Tiger Woods hammered his vocal rival
In 2007, reviews of Tiger Woods were circling the wagon. Despite winning twice at the start of the year, Woods faced mounting pressure as he had held a share of the lead in the final rounds of the Masters and US Open but stumbled to finish second. He also tied for 12th at the British Open.
One of Woods’ most vocal antagonists was South African-born golfer Rory Sabbatini. In the third round of the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina, Sabbatini said he wanted to play in the final group with Woods on Sunday, as if to throw down the gauntlet.
Their scores matched and they were placed in the final group on Sunday. But Woods shot 69 to 74 for Sabbatini and not only beat Sabbatini by five shots, but also won the tournament. Woods won the last major tournament of 2007, the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
However, Sabbatini stuck to his guns. He said after that final round at Quail Hollow: “(Woods) struggled there today; he had to fight there (to win) and I think he made me realize that he is as beatable as ever.
Williams was Woods’ caddy at the time (from 1999 to 2011) and won 13 Majors on Woods’ bag. On the Chasing Majors podcast, Williams reveals how silly he thought Sabbatini’s comments were:
“Look, Rory was a stand-up character and he was beating his own drum,” Williams said in episode 12. “But I don’t think that’s the kind of comment you should make when you’ve just been kicked the ass.”
Full list of Williams’ reaction that day in the 9th minute: