A Caddie Gives Us Pause on Integrity


If you can get past the snarky comments about caddies being glorified ball washers or the obsessive regurgitation of all of Tiger Woods past sins, it is worth taking a look at the story that unfolded recently around former Woods' caddie Steve Williams for its larger ongoing lesson.

It says a lot about how we measure integrity, which is really taking honesty and goodness up a few notches into another realm, isnt it? Not to mention that other highly-desirable quality: loyalty, and what constitutes that in a dog-eat-dog world.

Williams was Woods caddie for more than 12 years and was recently fired by Woods. It is in dispute whether the parting took place in person or on the phone, but the fact is, the two are no longer working together. Last weekend, after Adam Scott won the W.G.C.-Bridgestone Invitational with new caddie Williams by his side, Williams was exuberant and didnt hesitate to say yes to a request for an interview with CBS reporter David Feherty.

When he was done, he had stuck a hearty, spiteful thumb in the eye of his former soul mate, Tiger Woods, declaring that four rounds with Scott in Akron, Ohio, had amounted to the most satisfying win of my career and the greatest week of my life, Bill Pennington wrote in The New York Times. This from a man who walked side by side with Woods during 13 major championships and 72 worldwide victories in 12 years.

After much talk in golf circles and the media questioning his moment in the spotlight, Williams got some perspective.

Looking back on it, I was a bit over the top, he told Robert Lusetich of FOXSports.com. I had a lot of anger in me about what happened [with Woods] and it all came out.

OK, got it. Thats human. He had a moment. His relationship with Woods was meaningful and a split--whether personal or professional--can be jarring.

I rehash here not to get into a he said, he said debate about this because as far as Im concerned, theres no need; I bring it up to illuminate a moment of hurt and how often these kinds of moments are lifes major tests of our integrity. They come up and then the questions are in front of us. How far do we go in expressing our feelings of anger and frustration? What do we do when we know things? Its far easier to keep confidences when everything is hunky dory, but later when things fall apart, what do we do? Is the information still sacred?

Think about a layoff, a family argument, a relationship breakup and how youve come through in the integrity department. In divorce, what did you hurl at your partner in anger? Certainly something, but do the secrets come spilling out? Do you keep counsel no matter what or only when things are amicable or lovey-dovey?

Every single day we have these tests on a variety of levels. How often do we pass? Blessedly, maturity helps us improve on this in many cases. Ive certainly stumbled in this area at times, but couldnt live with myself now if I started blabbing confidences out of bitterness. Most of us have shared precious information with someone who has let it all come tumbling out in a moment of heated exchange; we can hold that in our minds of how not to be.

I keep thinking of a time many years ago when my younger sister--by five years--was a teenager and wanted to go to the local dance. My parents had forbidden it, but one night when they were out she went with her friends anyway. I gave her the money to get in. She got caught, chastised and grounded for the lying and premeditation. But in all the questioning of where she got the money to go, not even when my mother accused of her stealing it from her purse, did my sister give me up. I never forgot that early lesson in integrity.

These days, with all the buzz around celebrities and people willing to pay big bucks for scraps of gossip, this is put to the test on a grand scale. How refreshing it is to hear Jay Z and Beyonce politely invoke their pact not to talk about their marriage publicly when asked about it. And how disconcerting to read, six years after Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split, that a producer from the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith has decided to regale the world with his knowledge of its details in his book.

According to a piece in The Washington Post the aforementioned caddie may write a book that is mostly biographical with Woods as a potential interesting chapter.

He didnt call his prospective book & a tell-all but did say that he had no confidentiality clause regarding his 12-year relationship on and off golf courses with Woods, writes Cindy Boren in The Post.

Heres hoping integrity wins and the chapter is chock full of stuff about Tigers swing, his heady momentum as he collected all those amazing wins and what it was like to witness a master in pure form.

We all get hurt, we all lash out, we all make mistakes. Ideally, we all come around and see that everything is not personal, that our word is our word and that all of these lessons and challenges are ongoing.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.