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"What was up with Steve Williams coming off the 13th tee yesterday?"

I haven't seen anything in the first round of stories about some of the possible gamesmanship and perhaps tension that was part of the Tiger Woods-Y.E. Yang.  Several readers have posted or emailed about this incident on the 13th, including reader Cam:

What was up with Steve Williams coming off the 13th tee yesterday? He was wagging his finger and really speaking his mind to somebody. I couldn't tell if he was trying to pump up Tiger after a good tee shot on the par 3 or was getting on Yang's for some percieved lapse in etiquette.

Anyone know who Stevie was upset with? After all, it's so out of character for him.

There were other awkward moments.

  • On 15 green, Tiger stood in an odd spot between Yang's line and the greenside bunker, prompting CBS's Ian Baker Finch to note the obvious gamesmanship on Tiger's part.
  • After putting out for par, Yang rudely tossed his ball into the grandstand from the green, causing a stir before Tiger's birdie putt. Intentional shot back at Tiger? Me thinks so.
  • On 16 green Yang opted to putt out even though his ball was in Tiger's line, and Tiger was visibly not pleased after walking to the ball and then turning back to his waiting spot.
  • After putting out on 18, several of Stevie's beloved bib stripping fans have emailed to note that he did not shake Yang's hand. Now, the moment was a bit wild and Yang was celebrating. Williams may have congratulated him back by the scorers tent. Hard to really say it was an intentional slight.

Hopefully some of the weeklies will touch on what looked like a bit of tension out there.

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Reader Comments (23)

The camera angle foreshortened the perspective, Stevie was no-where near Y.E. Yang and was definitely not speaking to him. I don't know if it was someone in the crowd or just a conversation with Tiger, but I don't think it had anything to do with Yang.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commenterdimple
Anyone who pisses Steve Williams off without the aid of a camera is worth respect.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
The incidents on 15 and 16 were the strangest for me. It was odd that Baker Finch pointed it out but no one else at CBS jumped on the story. As you said Geoff, maybe it was because they were more worried about getting the Vick plug in.

It is fun to speculate whether Tiger was rattled by having someone not succumb to some of his gamesmanship.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterOB
I've noticed Tiger pulling this deliberately standing in the wrong place routine many times.
That's bad form.
It is not quite as asinine as some of the stuff a certain Spaniard used to pull but it is still NOT ok.
On the very rare occasions someone tries to pull this sort of stuff where I play we let them know immediately and they are not invited back.
Be civilized and let the shots do the talking. Let's leave the rude behavior to other sports.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
George, you need to lighten up. I've played competitively and I've seen also sorts of goofy gamesmanship. I also know a lot of weekend groups that have high trash talk that would never have happend on Tour or in the high college/am level. At the high levels of the game, focus/ complete cluelessness about the other players in the group is the cause of most perceived etiquette problems, although there are exceptions.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
I think Phil Mick commented a year or two back that somebody (Butch??) had pointed out some of Tiger's gamesmanship "tricks", and that Phil now laughs when he spots them. Whatever has or hasn't happened here (and I've had somebody suggest that Yang was trying stuff on early in the round), it's just great to see somebody stand up to Tiger mentally.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMcStumpy
McStumpy, or Butch, has it right: The proper reaction to gamesmanship is to smile and laugh and destroy the gamer by ignoring it and succeeding anyway. If Tiger was "gaming" Yang, that's fine, too, and Yang can take special satisfaction in not being distracted by it.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commenter86general
From Yang's caddie's press conference interview.....

Q. What is your sense from him out there, Tiger?
AJ MONTECINOS: Class act. First time being in a group with him. Classy guy. "Good shot, Yang, way to go."

Q. When he made that putt on 18, it looked like Tiger was going to give him a nod or a little smile, did you see that?
AJ MONTECINOS: I didn't. I didn't see that. But I'm sure he did. He shook his hand and again and said "Great stuff." That's what it's all about.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commenterfigjam
Yeah, also, can someone tell Tiger he doesn't need to throw clubs or hammer them into the grounds every round? I mean, anytime he misses a shot (even ones he shouldn't expect to make) he throws a little tantrum. Grow up and enjoy the life you's not that bad!

Anyone remember the days of the legends (Jack, Player, Arnie, Watson) who exuded such class? Tiger's brought a bad attitude to a gentlemen's/women's sport. Hopefully, he'll decide to show a little more respect to his competitors and to the game.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commentermy2cents
As for Williams not shaking Yang's hand on 18 -- Stevie tried to; Yang shook Tiger's hand and spoke to him, then turned to the crowd, and ran to his bag to hoist it in the air. Williams was right there, hand extended. And, weirdest of all, Stevie still had the bib on! Yang wasn't dissing Williams; he just forgot about him. Yes, the moment was a bit wild and Yang was celebrating. This was not a case of Williams being churlish. It was a matter of Yang forgetting to shake the other guy's caddy's hand, which I never fully understood anyway. I thought it was hilarious.

Was the Williams finger wagging done in the direction of Anthony Kim, who apparently putted out on a nearby green as Tiger was getting ready to play? It was mentioned on the telecast -- I think I was grabbing a cold beverage at that moment...
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Anyone else notice Tiger stomping off 17 after Yang missed his par putt and before he putted out for bogey? Bad sportsmanship there. Good gamesmanship though. Not that CBS would ever say any of this - not if they ever hope to interview his Eldrick-ness again (or have him show up at their tournaments again...)
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterFish
Mr. O, you think focus/cluelessness is the reason Tiger stands in places that disturb his playing partners?
We do play with a certain amount of good natured ribbing. But it is good natured, not cleverly designed to mess up another player.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
Chuck, I was a little groggy at the time, but I believe the Kim mention was regarding Mickelson on 18.

I thought Tiger was gaming, too. Most of the time, it's subtle. But when he's in a corner, it's plain for all to see.

Mr. Yang is a tough hunter. I think those two are destined to meet again.

Lastly, Mr Yang's looper just said all the correct things a looper's supposed to say in public. That goes double for a devout Christian.
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Blabbie
just a little thank you post, Geoff.

this is easily the best golf blog/info resource around, and I for one appreciate it greatly.

08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commentergolfboy
Aunt Blabbie,

Glad we have mind readers like you to clarify things
08.17.2009 | Unregistered Commenterfigjam
Ditto Golfboy
Thanks again for a stellar job giving us everything and more--your great work is most always go the extra mile on your site!! Kudos!!
08.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterD.G.
Yep, great site, Geoff - but you seem to spend an awul lot of time on it. Do you ever do any real work?? ;-)
08.18.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMcStumpy
what aunt blabbie said. and i'd also add, with the exception of stevie most tour caddies seem to have the good sense to stay out of the way and let their players be the story.
08.18.2009 | Unregistered Commenterthusgone
like many of the other major winners in past years we probably have heard the last of y.e yang--a fluke day for him and a sub-par putting round for Tiger---- it happens.
08.18.2009 | Unregistered Commenter4putt
LOL @ 4putt

if that turns out not to be the case, will you promise that this is the last we hear from you? ....please?
08.18.2009 | Unregistered Commenterdimple
Are we handing out compliments to Jeff for engineering this great site? Very well, let me throw in a bouquet, too. It's a tremendous site.

I'll even put my real name on this.
08.18.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHodenfield
Hey Hodenfield, I agree, I think. I like Geoff's blog and I'll try Jeff's also if you give me the URL. Does anyone ever call you HOGANfeld? It is a pain when people mess up your name, isn't it?
08.18.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVince Spence
Did anyone else notice that Tiger didn't putt out first on 18, which is the normal practice, to give Yang the last putt, then the appreciation of he crowd, even if Tiger had holed his putt Yang would have had 2 putts to win. Very childish.
08.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenteriJim Mller

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