In a surprise move, Tiger Woods has dropped Steve Williams, his caddie of 12 years.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change," Woods said in a statement.  "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."

With Woods injured, Williams had carried the bag for Australian Adam Scott during the last two majors. Some, including Williams, have speculated that this may have bothered Woods -- although it isn't unusual for caddies to temporarily link up with other golfers when their primary empoyer is unable to play.

Williams seemed to be blindsided by his firing, and had critical words for his former boss.

"Given my loyalty, and the way I am, the timing of it is pretty poor really," said the 47-year old New Zealander of his being let go. "I've stood by this guy through thick and thin and the timing of it is very poor from my perspective,"

Woods and Williams won 13 majors together. Williams is expected to become Scott's caddie full time. So far, Woods hasn't hired a new caddie.