Steve Williams vs. Old Tom Morris

So the golf world is abuzz today about comments caddie Steve Williams makes about his former boss, Tiger Woods, in his new book about their old relationship. Referring to how it sometimes felt to bend over and pick up a club that Tiger casually tossed to the ground, Williams writes: “It was like I was his slave.” Really?

It made me think of a truly legendary caddy, Old Tom Morris. But not in a good way. You see, Old Tom had a decidedly different attitude toward the “indignity” of having to stoop to serve the man who paid his wages. As told by author Kevin Cook in Tommy’s Honor, Tom took a much more humble approach (“Tommy” refers to Old Tom’s son, “Young Tom”):

Watching his father kneel to tee up another man’s ball set Tommy’s teeth on edge. … [But] there was no shame in kneeling, [Tom] said. Had not our Savior told his followers to render unto Caesar? After all, Tom said, it was not his immortal soul that bent, only his knee.

Old_and_Young_Tom_MorrisQuite a difference, wouldn’t you say? Whose attitude do you think provides a better path to peace and contentment?

(And remember, Old Tom was not “just” a caddy, he was also the world’s greatest golfer – at a time when those who made their living at golf (whether caddying or playing) were considered a class below the wealthy “gentlemen” who enjoyed amateur status.)

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