Dec. 22, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Williams, the caddie for British Open champion Stewart Cink, went from celebrating a major victory to stewing about it — at least until he realized he was the victim of a prank within the caddie ranks.

For whatever reason, Williams has never liked going to the British Open, and he was going to try to sit this one out. Before getting Cink’s permission, he checked on the availability of longtime looper Dave Musgrove, who told Williams he didn’t have work for the week but would be at Turnberry to watch and could fill in if necessary.

It wasn’t necessary.

“He was having a hard time getting travel and finding a place to stay,” Cink said. “He said, ‘Would it be OK if Dave Musgrove worked for you?’ I said, ‘I’d really rather you work for me.’ So I helped him with travel, and I got my agent’s office involved to find places to stay.”

Needless to say, it worked out quite well. Cink closed with a 69 to get into a playoff with Tom Watson, then won his first major with a guy on the bag who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Scott Gneiser (caddie for David Toms) and Steve Williams (Tiger Woods) caught wind of this and decided to play a prank. Steve Williams’ wife was visiting her parents in Scotland at the time, so he wrote a letter pretending to be from Musgrove, and had his wife mail the letter from Scotland so it would look authentic with the postmark.

“There was no reason for him to believe it was not from Dave Musgrove,” Steve Williams said.

The letter said Musgrove had paid for a room deposit and airfare, both nonrefundable, then spent an entire week at Turnberry without work. He demanded that Frank Williams reimburse him, and it would only be fair to give him half of the caddie’s earnings from the Open.

It was delivered to Cink’s caddie at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.

“I got mad,” Frank Williams said. “I knew I didn’t tell him for sure he would be working. Boy, I was hot, knowing this guy wanted money. I didn’t say anything about it. Scotty and Stevie came up and said, ‘Did you get a letter?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t get one.’ I was so mad I didn’t want to say anything about it.”

He spent the rest of the week wondering what he would say to Musgrove. The next week, he started wondering if Musgrove could have misunderstood him.

“I was laying in bed at night worrying about this,” Frank Williams said.

Steve Williams asked him again about the letter at the Presidents Cup, and Cink’s caddie finally broke his silence and began ranting about what Musgrove wanted and what he should do about it. Steve Williams’ laughter was the first sign it was a prank.

“That’s probably the best anyone has ever gotten me,” Frank Williams said. “That was good.”

Winning didn’t change one thing. The British Open is at St. Andrews next year, and Williams isn’t looking forward to it.

“Every year, I say I’m not going, and I always go because it’s my job,” he said. “Someone came up to me the other day and said, ‘Guess it’s your favorite tournament?’ I said, ‘No, I probably won’t go next year.’ Everybody knows how I feel.”

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