Adam Scott guided to WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title by the man who knows best
AKRON, OHIO // Caddie Steve Williams had the biggest smile in Akron last night, winning an incredible eighth WGC-Bridgestone Invitational two weeks after being fired by Tiger Woods.
This time Williams was with Adam Scott as the 31-year-old Australian finished four shots ahead of England's world No 1 Luke Donald and the young American Rickie Fowler - with Woods a massive 18 strokes behind in 37th place.
The New Zealander did not take too kindly to being ditched by Woods for his return after more than two months out injured.
He was with the former world No 1 for 13 of his 14 majors, but now he hopes to follow up this success by helping Scott, joint runner-up at The Masters in April, add the USPGA Championship in Atlanta this week.
Williams has been as bigger talking point as the players themselves this week, and as Scott approached the 18th hole, fans were shouting not for him but his caddie.
"I had no idea how popular a New Zealander can be, coming from Australia," Scott said with a laugh afterwards.
"It's surprising. But no, obviously he's a popular guy around here having won now eight times. They appreciate him a lot, and he's a bit of a character. It was fun to get support, whether it's for me or him, I don't care, it's the right team.
"Obviously he has such a great knowledge of this golf course and the greens. He's seen a guy play incredible golf, the best golf anyone has ever played around here so many times, so absolutely.
"He really guided me around the course nicely when he needed to step in and just make a point of where we need to be, he did, and had some great little notes in his book about putts on greens."
Scott, now with an impressive nine wins in the US under his belt and back in the world's top 10, is not the only player heading into the final major of the season in confident mood, however.
Donald had only three bogeys all week at Firestone and birdied two of the last three for a closing 66, while the US Open champion Rory McIlroy shot 67 for joint sixth place and Westwood a joint best-of-the-day 65 for ninth.
"It was a good week," said Donald, now further ahead of Westwood at the top of the world rankings. "I take a lot of positives. It's probably one of the best ball-striking weeks I've had for a while.
"Disappointed I didn't make a couple more and give Scotty a good run, but I felt really comfortable off the tee and my iron play was good.
"I'm not going to worry too much about the putter. I've always felt like I'm a good putter and those things will come around.
"I've just got to keep being patient and keep giving myself opportunities - that's all I can do."
McIlroy, one of the favourite's for Atlanta, said: "It's been a very productive week with four rounds in the 60s.
"It would have been nice to give myself a little more of a chance to win this week — I just didn't hole enough putts — but it's a good confidence-builder.
"I'm playing well. I'm really happy with the way I'm hitting it and driving it a lot better than I have done the last couple weeks. I'm ready for it."
Westwood commented: "It's been pretty good. I haven't hit many bad shots and today really started to get the hang of the greens.
"It's moving along nicely. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but today I felt a lot more confident."
As for the much sterner test expected this week he added: "That's good. The way I'm hitting the ball, the harder the better."
Published: August 8, 2011 04:00 AM