Caddie Williams not a racist – Woods

2011-11-08 07:08

Sydney – Tiger Woods has defended his former caddie, Steve Williams, saying he was not a racist and had apologised for a slur he made about his former boss that triggered widespread condemnation last week.

Williams, who was Woods’ caddie for 13 of his 14 major titles before being sacked earlier this year, referred to the former world number one as a “black arsehole” during an awards dinner on Friday night in Shanghai.

The pair came face to face at The Lakes course in Sydney today ahead of this week’s Australian Open where Williams is now carrying the clubs of Australian world number eight Adam Scott.

Williams’s remarks were widely condemned but Scott has refused to fire him at this week’s event in Sydney. Woods said Williams had apologised to him for his comments and that both had acknowledged it was the wrong thing to have said.

Woods (35), who has not won a tournament for two years precipitating a slump in his world ranking to 58, said the pair shook hands and agreed to move on. “We talked this morning, we met face to face and talked it through,” Woods told a press conference.

"Obviously, it was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledged now and we’re moving forward. He did apologise. It was hurtful, certainly, but life goes forward.

“Certainly, Stevie is not a racist, there’s no doubt about that. I think it was a comment that shouldn’t have been made and certainly one that he shouldn’t have meant,” Woods said.

Williams (47) posted an online statement Saturday apologising to Woods and admitting his comments “could be construed as racist”, while the US and European Tours have declared the matter closed. Woods said it had been a tough decision to split with Williams.

“For me, personally, it was a tough decision to make to go in a different direction in my professional life. But as far as personally, I don’t know how it (comment) happened, but it did. Here we are, so life goes forward.

“This summer I wanted to go in a different direction. I wasn’t playing, I was injured and I was trying to come back but I missed most of the major championships and he (Williams) didn’t want to miss them, which was understandable.

“I wish I could have played in them too. We’ll see what time does, we know that time does heal wounds and we’ll see how it goes.”

“He’s (Williams) obviously with Adam (Scott), he’s in a good spot now with Adam playing so well, professionally we’ve moved in different directions. “We shook hands.”

Woods has not won since the 2009 Australian Masters in Melbourne and will be hoping The Lakes course can help turn around his fortunes.

Woods, a former world number one, slipped down the rankings following lurid revelations about his private life which saw the golfer go into rehab.

The Australian Open also features Woods’ fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, and Australians Geoff Ogilvy, the defending champion, two-time major runner-up Jason Day along with former winner Adam Scott.

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