UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — Reunion tours typically never live up to the hype. This one did.
Adam Scott had been struggling this year. He had fallen from No. 1 in the world as recently as last August to 12th heading into the U.S. Open. The Aussie suffered through a very short-lived experiment with a traditional-length putter only to flee back to the crutch of the broomstick, even as its days as part of a legal putting stroke are numbered. The results weren’t there.
So, Scott, a desperate man, swallowed his pride and called his former caddie, Steve Williams. The returns are early, but the result was brilliant. Buoyed by a final round 6-under 64 at Chambers Bay, Scott is the clubhouse leader at the U.S. Open. At 3-under 277 for the championship, Scott had a late-afternoon sweat to see if he could find himself in a playoff until Louis Oosthuizen’s unbelievable back-nine 29 eliminated him.
Scott and Williams parted ways at the end of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. The New Zealander Williams had grown tired of the grind of the pro golf calendar. He was tired of flying back and forth from the U.S. to spend time with his family and pursue his passions, including auto racing. Williams told Scott that he was willing to continue looping, but only at the biggest and best tournaments. For the other run-of-the-mill events, Williams didn’t want to bother. Scott need full commitment, so they amicably parted ways. The Aussie hired veteran caddie Mike Kerr, who was canned in the last week of May.
It was back in 2011 when Scott and Williams began working together, a match of broken pairs. Williams, who was looping for Tiger Woods, didn’t have a bag at the U.S. Open that year because Woods was sitting out with injury. Scott needed a caddie. That relationship became permanent when Woods canned Williams over the mess.
“When the opportunity came up to work with Steve, it was great timing, because I was at the point where I just needed that one last piece of the puzzle,” Scott said. “Steve certainly filled that throughout our time.”
Williams filled one of several missing pieces this week, giving direction and confidence to the mild-mannered Scott. The other was putting. On a course where lag putting proved key, Scott had just three 3-putt greens in 72 holes. Only three players in the field had fewer. Scott seemed to suggest one influenced the other.
“I’ve been working hard at it and I just haven’t figured out what it is, and putting it altogether, it’s been frustrating for sure,” Scott said. “But this is the kind of event where you have to put all of that frustration aside and keep your patience, and I did that well this week.”