3 Signs It’s Time to Shut Up

Posted 08.11.2011

Caddies If you’re a sports fan (guilty as charged), you’ve likely heard by now about golf caddie Stevie Williams’ interview after his new boss, Adam Scott, won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last weekend.  It’s the talk of the sports world this week.

Williams, in case you don’t know, was Tiger Woods’ caddie for 13 years and carried his bag for most of the professional wins he had before Woods’ career and life imploded a few years ago. Woods fired Williams a couple of weeks ago and pointedly ignored him on the Bridgestone practice tee early in the week. It was an interesting scenario, then,  when Williams’ new ride won the tournament in which Tiger finished 37th.

Williams made it that much more interesting when he – the caddie! – gave an interview to CBS on the 18th green.    In an interview with David Feherty, Williams said,  “I’ve caddied for 33 years — 145 wins now — and that’s the best win I’ve ever had.”  That was on Sunday. On Monday, he apologized for going “over the top” in the interview.

Still, it was great TV. Mainly, because most of us can relate to the fantasy of sticking it back to someone who stuck it to us. The fantasy and the reality, however, are two different things. Williams needed to recognize that winning with Scott was a good time to shut up. That can be hard to do when emotions are running high.  Here are three signs that it’s a good time to shut up. Steve Williams missed them. Maybe they’ll help you avoid sticking your foot in your mouth.

  • Revenge Fantasies – It’s likely that,  in his wildest dreams, Stevie Williams fantasized about coming out on top while his old boss was languishing in the middle of the pack.  The fact that the moment actually came just a couple of weeks after he was fired was probably more than even he dreamed. If you find yourself fantasizing about scenarios in which you get revenge on a nemesis, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re obsessing.  Snap out of it so you don’t say something you’ll regret later.
  • Your Body Will Tell You – There were a few moments in the tournament that could have clued Williams in to what he was about to do. One was when he – the caddie! – was tipping his hat to the gallery walking down the 18th fairway on Sunday. Another was when his fist pumps after a sunk putt were bigger than his player’s. If you want to avoid saying something stupid, tune into what your body is telling you.
  • There’s No “I” in Boss – I don’t remember the exact number but I heard today that Williams used the words I, me and my dozens of times in his one and a half minute interview with CBS. All that from a guy who didn’t swing a single club for his boss. If you find yourself compulsively talking in the first person, it’s a sure sign you should shut up.

What about you?  Ever said something you regretted soon after? (Again, guilty as charged.) Looking back on it, what were the signs that you should have shut up? Please, do share.  You’ll be providing a public service to the rest of us.