London – Tiger Woods’s long-term injuries may have been self-inflicted but he will win again – although probably not a major, according to his former caddie Steve Williams.
“I don’t doubt that he’ll come back to the winner’s circle,” Steve Williams said in an interview broadcast by the BBC.
“But whether he comes back and wins more major championships? That’s going to be a very difficult task,” added the New Zealander.
Williams was Woods’s right-hand man between 1999 and 2009, carrying his bag for 13 of the American’s 14 major victories and an astonishing 84 tournament wins in all.
“He has an incredible work ethic, when he can work hard, so I wouldn’t go as far as saying he won’t get back into the winner’s circle because one thing he does know how to do is win,” Williams said.
The former world number one has plummeted to 467th in the rankings having not picked up a club competitively after undergoing two back operations in September and October.
Williams agreed when his interviewer suggested that Woods’s spate of injuries was “self-inflicted” by an intensive training and strengthening regime in his younger days.
“It’s very hard to pinpoint how he’s got to where he is now, but there’s a lot of merit in what you’ve just said,” Williams said.
“When he looks back he might question some of the activities he did, some of the gym work he might have done that had all these injuries escalate.”
Williams now works part-time for Adam Scott and will carry for the Australian when the season’s first major, the US Masters, begins at Augusta in just over two weeks.
He also worked for other former major winners in Greg Norman and Ray Floyd before he picked up the job with Woods, but says Tiger is unique in his “unbelievable desire to win”.
“Now other guys would be happy if they had a top-five finish, a top-10 finish, some weeks even if they made the cut… but the only time (Tiger) enjoyed was when he won.
“The rest of it didn’t matter. Unless you won it wasn’t a satisfactory week.”
Williams and Woods do not speak since they parted company in 2009, despite the pair being once so close that they were best man at each other’s weddings.
And Williams caused a furore when writing in his book last year that his former boss treated him like “a slave”. But he still recalls with pride their heyday between 1999 and 2005, when Woods won nine of his major titles.
“He had this amazing drive to want to break Jack Nicklaus’s record (of 18 major wins), which of course I bought into,” admitted Williams.
“I saw no reason to believe he wasn’t going to do that. It’s just a shame that it looks very difficult at this time that he’s going to achieve that.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be impossible but it looks harder and harder.”