ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods will be joining the U.S. Ryder Cup team on a charter flight to Wales.
His caddie is on his own.
Steve Williams and two other caddies — Frank Williams (Stewart Cink) and Joe Skovron (Rickie Fowler) — have been bumped off the U.S. team’s charter plane to the Ryder Cup because the plane is not big enough for everyone.
Also on the charter, in coach seats, will be several fans who bought seats through a special Ryder Cup package.
U.S. captain Corey Pavin dismissed any notion of the Americans’ unity being splintered early with three caddies not on the plane.
“It’s funny what people make of it,” Pavin said. “When we play in the United States, everyone comes in separately. Just because we’re going overseas doesn’t mean we all have to go together.”
The charter flight is sold out.
“The original plane we had for Team USA was not able to fly,” PGA of America spokesman Julius Mason said. “We had to obtain an alternative plane, and the configuration of seats on the new plane did not allow to accommodate everyone in superior class seats.”
Instead of the three caddies flying coach, Mason said the PGA is reimbursing them for business-class seats on flights originating from wherever they live. Steve Williams, who is from New Zealand, has a summer home in Oregon. Frank Williams is in Utah, while Skovron lives in the San Diego area.
The three caddies were chosen because their players did not qualify for the Tour Championship. The charter flight is to leave Sunday night for Atlanta, arriving in Wales on Monday. The Ryder Cup is Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor.
“It’s actually worked out quite well,” Pavin said. “The three caddies are spread throughout the land, and they can come over on a more direct flight and fly business class. It’s easier for them to fly straight to Cardiff and get in that way, than fly to Atlanta and hang around. I spoke to all the guys, and they’re fine. They understood.
“One of the neat things is that all 12 players are on the charter,” he said. “That’s the first time that’s happened for some time.”
Pavin was in Atlanta on Wednesday night for a team meeting before going back home to Dallas. The only player not scheduled to be there was Woods, who is home in Florida. Cink lives in Atlanta, while Fowler has been in Atlanta all week doing Titleist commercials.
“We’re going to Skype in Tiger,” Pavin said. “He’ll be with us electronically.”