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Williams excited by Tiger prospect

Steve Williams could be excused if he starts nodding off when he first goes out hunting with the Tiger.

The New Zealand caddie, who previously carried the bag for Greg Norman and then Raymond Floyd of the Seniors Tour, will start his new job with No. 1 Tiger Woods at the Bay Hill Invitational in Florida.

"I haven't slept for the past three nights," Williams. "It was great to work for Greg (Norman) but this is going to be even more thrilling."

He said he was quite happy working with Floyd and didn't bother joining in the caddie frenzy after Woods sacked Mike "Fluff" Cowan.

"Out of the blue, I got a message from Tiger's coach Butch Harman saying Tiger wanted to talk to me," said Williams, who originates from Paraparaumu.

"I just about fell over. I mean, here was Tiger Woods asking me, not me asking Tiger. What makes it really satisfying is that almost every American player has an American caddy and Tiger has gone for me, a Kiwi."

Despite being a solid golfer himself, having once gotten down to a 2 handicap and now playing off a 6, Williams decided at 13 he was going to become a professional caddie.

"I caddied for Peter Thomson in the 1976 New Zealand Open at Heretaunga and at the end of the tournament he gave me $150, his golf bag and a lot of golf balls," Williams said.

"In those days, I was getting 50 cents a week pocket money so I thought there must be something in this caddying lark."

The first few weeks of Williams' career were spent with Wayne Grady in Australia before he switched to former British Open winner Ian Baker-Finch.

"I was with Ian for a year. One day we were playing in the same group as Norman. He watched me working and asked if I would like to work for him," Williams said.

Norman, recognized as a demanding employer, and Williams stayed together for eight years before deciding to split in 1988.

Williams then joined Floyd and they have been a team since, apart from a brief break two years ago.