Steve Williams Defends Use of ‘Slave’ to Describe Working for Tiger Woods in Book

November 12, 2015

After using the word “slave” in his book to describe how he felt at times when working for Tiger Woods, Steve Williams is backtracking.

Williams told USA Today via email that his use of “slave” did not imply exactly what he meant. Williams’ book “Out of the Rough” details his relationship with Woods and has attracted criticism since its recent release, most of which involves Williams’ use of this particular, polarizing word.

The excerpt from Williams’ book reads:

“One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club, it was like I was his slave.”

Williams, who is reportedly on a book tour in New Zealand, wrote the following in his email to USA Today:

“In this part of the world where slavery has never existed people use slave as a description of their service or work every day. We use the word loosely down under. After reviewing the book several times before it was published it never crossed my mind to change the word. It merely was a description of how I felt about something and in no way in the context it was used does it suggest I was treated like a slave.”

While the word “slave” may have a different connotation in the U.S. than in Australia or New Zealand, Williams has never been known as someone who chooses his words carefully. And having worked for a golfer of at least partial African-American descent, Williams’ use of the word is slightly surprising.

In his email, Williams went on to say that his book provides a “rare insight” into caddie life and that “the reviews from those who read the book are very positive.” has reviewed the book here and provided a list of interesting tidbits here.