Well, it's official. Tiger Woods is now the third rail of sports, because when one speaks of him, one becomes stupid.
The latest example is his own caddie, Steve (I'll Pound You With A Seven Iron If Your Exhale Too Loudly) Williams, who postured to the full extent of his abilities in an interview with 60 Minutes New Zealand. He comes off like, well, like someone who has far exceeded his place in the Woodsian universe and is headed for caddie purgatory.
Either that, or he's just a gasbag who is enjoying his 15 minutes.
But let's leave the highlights for you to interpret:
"Of course I'm mad at him, why would you not be? I'm close with his wife and he's got two lovely children and he's let them down."
So far, so good.
"Every single person believed that I should know or did know or had something to do with it. I knew nothing, that's my answer. I don't have to clarify or extend that answer, I knew nothing. It would be very difficult as a caddie not to know but I'm 100 percent telling you, I did not know, and that's that."
OK, if you say so. You understand few people will believe you, but hey, you go with that.
"I'm a straight-up sort of person. If I had known something was going on, the whistle would have been blown."
Steve Williams didn't get to where he is by trumpeting his independence. He works for Woods, and what he did or didn't know would have stayed in-house. That is an absolute mortal lock, as verified both by Williams' history with Woods and the bro code that men in an adolescent's world live by.
Second, if he had blown the whistle, it would have been the last thing he ever did for Woods or any other golfer. Employees don't get to rat out employers as a general rule, with all due respect to our shamefully toothless whistle-blower laws, and especially not in a one-on-one relationship like that of golfer-caddie.
In short, in becoming Woods' public moral compass, he would be doing what Woods' gallery full of "entertainment consultants" have been doing -- playing for the short money.
In fact, just saying he would have rolled on his benefactor might buy Williams what the British call his P-45 -- his unemployment notice.
So let's say that in this instance, Williams is not convincing. Let's also say that the more he talks about Woods' shame, the more likely it is that Woods will not remember him kindly. Indeed, at the time when Woods wants the lowest possible profile, Williams has tossed him back into the chipper-shredder of chat-show fodder.
Wow, that's some top-quality thinking there.
Of course, it also might be that Williams has been given the go-ahead by Woods to tell the story he shared on TV. Why this would please Woods is beyond our understanding, but so much of the past few weeks of the Woods story is confounding to even the most gentle of his supporters.
Boiled down to its essence, the Williams interview is one more reminder that the Woods story is slowly eating at everyone within reaching distance of it. At a time when silence on the subject is the best idea of all, every new contribution reveals what an absolute disaster this has been from its revelation to now -- for Woods and those around him.
But silence isn't golden, apparently, at least not as golden as momentary fame. Discreet silence is out of fashion, it seems, and whether the voice is Woods' or that of the members of his empire, the noise leaves us all slightly poorer, and less willing believe the next nonsensical donation to the story.
Although, in fairness, that next contribution would have to be at least slightly more comprehensible than Williams' was.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.