Day’s US Open caddie one out of the rough
Jason Day will contest next week's US Open at Pebble Beach flanked by caddie Steve Williams, 19 years after the New Zealander helped Tiger Woods deliver the greatest victory in major championship history on the same course.
On Saturday, former world No. 1 Day was spotted with Williams carrying his bag at the iconic seaside California course and confirmed to a golf TV network that the 55-year-old would caddie for him at the US Open starting Thursday.
Williams was on the bag for 13 of Woods's 15 major victories and famously carried the clubs for the American during his 2000 US Open victory at Pebble Beach.
Woods won that US Open by 15 shots, which remains the largest margin of victory in majors history.
Wellington-native Williams worked a six-year stint with Day's fellow Australian Adam Scott and in 2013 helped him become the country's first golfer to win the Masters at Augusta National.
Williams shot to prominence as a caddie in the 1980s when he worked for Australian icon Greg Norman.
Day's long-time coach, Colin Swatton, said the change was an exciting one.
"It was a team decision to bring in Steve and I think it's a really good one," Swatton said.
"Steve is probably the most prolific caddie golf has seen in helping a player win at the highest level; he has caddied for three world No. 1 players.
"We believe it's a decision that can only help Jason in his quest to get back to No.1."
Swatton believes the biggest benefit for Day will be a surge in self-belief, given Williams' experience in the pressure cooker of major championships.
"I think the biggest thing is the confidence Jason will have in knowing the guy standing next to him has stayed calm in the big moments," Swatton said.
The significance in having Williams debut for Day at Pebble Beach for the US Open is not lost on Swatton.
Williams helped Woods remain composed during the 2000 US Open, when the American star led wire-to-wire and took an astonishing10-shot lead into the final round.
He made no bogeys on that Sunday and smashed the record for the largest major championship victory.
"It's one of those things, if you could employ someone who has an impeccable record and is as credentialed as Steve and have him on the bag at a point in time and an important golf course and it's a major, it's the US Open at Pebble," Swatton said.
Day's childhood mates, Luke Reardon and Rika Batibasaga, normally share caddie duties for the Queenslander.
It is unknown how permanent the move is, given Williams has not caddied full-time since his partnership with former world No. 1 Scott ended in 2017.