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Williams not racist - Norman

2011-11-07 08:11

Sydney - Greg Norman insisted on Monday his one-time caddy Steve Williams is not racist as the New Zealander's slur about former boss Tiger Woods threatened to overshadow this week's Australian Open.

Williams, who was Woods' caddy 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.

His remarks were widely condemned but his current employer, Australian Adam Scott, has refused to fire him and he is set to carry the world number eight's bag at this week's event in Sydney.

Woods is also playing but the possibility of Scott and Woods being paired up on Thursday and Friday has been ruled out.

"It has nothing to do with the incident that was spoken about over the weekend. It was never going to happen anyway. No chance," tournament director Tony Roosenburg told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Norman, who is also playing in Sydney before captaining the International team at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne next week, said Williams needed to be cut some slack.

"Steve's not a racist," he said of a man who carried his bag for several years at the height of Norman's own career in the 1980s before being fired.

Asked at a press conference whether Scott should sack him, the golfing icon replied: "Not at all.

"We've all made stupid comments at stupid times. Unfortunately his stupid comment became global news. I know he probably regrets saying it.

"But I guarantee in that room that night there was probably some heavier things said.

"Because of the temperature that was going on between the two of them, anything that is said or not said is going to exacerbate whatever that feeling is.

"I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn't need it. Golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to."

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.

Norman does not believe the controversy will affect Woods or Scott in Sydney.

"Adam's a professional. Whatever Steve has said is Steve's opinion. It's not Adam's opinion," he said.

"Steve obviously does a great job for Adam because Adam's played extremely well since Steve has been on his bag."

With the scandal rumbling on, Roosenburg admitted it sharpened interest in the Australian Open.

"It is a very sensitive subject and I'm certainly not commenting on that," he said about the Williams slur.

But he went on: "I don't think it's doing the Open any harm. Certainly not, it's adding another dimension.

"Was I looking for this sort of build-up? No, but you take it when you can get it. The Tuesday media conference (with Woods) will now be bigger than it was already."

Woods was in Perth over the weekend on private business and was expected in Melbourne Monday, reportedly for a round of golf with cricketer Shane Warne, his fiancee Liz Hurley, and media and gaming tycoon James Packer.

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

The Australian Open also features Woods' fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, and Australians Geoff Ogilvy, the defending champion, and two-time major runner-up Jason Day.

AFP

Comments
  • Napolita - 2011-11-07 08:27

    Carrying a golfer's bag must be an important job.

      Mike - 2011-11-07 08:34

      It Is - They get about 10% of the golfers winnings. Research what prize money The Shark and Tiger won and see how much money Williams has mad

      Dirk - 2011-11-07 08:57

      Criticized for saying the obvious. Everyone, including Tiger, knows that he has a black backside. So? Why would that make him a racist?

      Michael - 2011-11-07 16:12

      Read somewhere that he was the highest paid "sportsperson" in New Zealand, and that from caddying. One shudders to think what Tiger was taking home. As for the importance of his job, caddies get paid extremely well as they normally make the call on the shot to play and the club to use. They know the layout and distances much better than the player.

  • John - 2011-11-07 08:47

    Ag please man, lay this BS to rest now and get the PC bunny huggers getting mileage out of nothing, to shut their stupid traps! Pathetic!

      Bob - 2011-11-07 10:23

      John I think you summed it all up perfectly, you are 100% correct this PC stuff has gone to far, there is worse stuff coming out of Malema's mouth every time he opens it but that is all swept under the carpet.

  • Con - 2011-11-07 08:58

    Not too much brains or class making a statement like that at an awards evening.Caddies should shut up and carry the bag. Speak only when spoken to.

      Mike - 2011-11-07 09:14

      Admittedly not the smartest thing to say but speaking only when spoken to is not what a professional caddy does.

  • Paul - 2011-11-07 12:24

    Real tigers don't cry.

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