Paul Azinger weighs in on caddie drama

The way Paul Azinger sees it, both sides are to blame in the battle between caddie Steve Williams and Tiger Woods, and both parties have themselves to blame for the positions they're in.

Azinger, captain of the United States' 2008 Ryder Cup championship team, said the media's coverage of Williams shows you that "Tiger Woods is a real lightning rod."

"There's a lot of emotion still wrapped up in whether you really like Tiger or can't stand him," Azinger said Tuesday on 620 WDAE in Tampa, Fla., as quoted by CBSSports.com. "A lot of people have not liked Steve Williams through the years. He has not been a popular person amongst the players and the caddies, necessarily, and that's OK -- he's got a work ethic and people don't like winners a lot of times."

While the public's perception of Woods changed as a direct result of the actions in his personal life, Azinger explained that the public backlash Williams is receiving is based solely on his words.

"I wanted Adam Scott to win so I could hear what Stevie said in regard," Azinger said. "It was as much what he said that did the damage. It became a 'me, me, me' or 'I, I, I' fest and he didn't say how great Adam Scott played."

While Scott himself said he didn't believe that was Williams' intention following Scott's weekend win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the damage was still done.

"When he (Williams) said it was the greatest week of my life, I don't know how anybody could believe that," Azinger said, "and it just shows you there is a lot of bitterness and animosity towards Tiger still and the way he was let go (fired). Probably some of it is justified, but he should've given Adam Scott his props and then lit Tiger up and I think everybody would've thought differently."

But while Williams remains backed by his new boss Scott, Azinger says Woods remains a man on an island in the golf community.

"I know that he (Woods) has to be angry at the media that tore him down," Azinger said. "He's got to be angry at himself first. He's dealing with the worst of all possible emotions and that is shame, and he's not healthy.

"Who are his friends? I mean (his agent), Mark Steinberg? Come on."

But now the golf world is turning its attention to Atlanta where the year's final major, the PGA Championship, will be played this weekend.

Both Woods and Scott stand a chance to win when the tournament starts Thursday but Azinger, the 1993 PGA Championship winner, hopes that everyone learned a lesson from last weekend's drama.

"The old joke is when the player plays good the caddie says, 'we,' " Azinger explained. "But when the player plays bad, the caddie says 'he.' In this case the player played great and the caddie said 'I.' "