Woods: Williams not a racist

2011-11-08 08:30

Sydney - Tiger Woods defended his former caddie Steve Williams on Tuesday, saying he was not a racist and had apologised for a "hurtful" slur that triggered widespread condemnation last week.

Williams, who was Woods's 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 on Tuesday ahead of this week's Australian Open, where Williams is now carrying the clubs of Australian world number eight Adam Scott.

Woods, 35, who has not won a tournament for two years, precipitating a slump in his world ranking to 58, said that 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 news 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," Woods said.

"No, Stevie's certainly 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 wished he didn't make."

Despite outrage over Williams's remarks, Scott has refused to fire the New Zealander at this week's event.

Greg Norman, also competing in Sydney, defended the caddie and said there was no racism in golf, while tournament chiefs said no action would be taken.

But Woods's friend, Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, has said he would have sacked Williams as his caddie over his remarks.

Williams, 47, posted an online statement Saturday apologising to Woods and admitting his comments "could be construed as racist", but 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 (the comment) happened, but it did. Here we are, so life goes forward," he said.

"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."

He said Williams was currently in a good position.

"He's got a great bag (caddying) and Adam's playing well. He's got just a load of talent, so he's in a good spot.

"We'll see what time does, we know that time does heal wounds and we'll see how it goes. We shook hands."

Woods said it was up to the golfing authorities to look at any sanctioning of players, officials and caddies over their conduct away from the course.

"I don't make the policies. I'm not part of the governing bodies, that's up to them," he said.

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

He slipped down the rankings following lurid revelations about his sex life, after which the golfer entered rehab.

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

Woods will be paired with Day and Australian Robert Allenby in the opening rounds of the Open, with Scott along with caddie Williams in the preceding group.


  • Bob - 2011-11-08 08:48

    At last a bit of sanity in this whole thing, I don't like Woods but at least he has manned up a bit accepting Williams apology, this whole PC thing is way out of hand.

      Napolita - 2011-11-08 10:41

      @Bob - "...I don't like Woods..." is that at a personal level?

      Bob - 2011-11-08 11:30

      Napolita, no I don't know the guy personally if thats what you are getting at, I just don't like what I have seen of him over the years, looks like he won the lotto and lost the ticket, miserable git as far as I'm concerned, and sneaky with it, good golfer in his day though.

      Michael - 2011-11-08 13:48

      "won the lotto and lost the ticket" well said.

  • jpcronje - 2011-11-08 09:33

    Not a Tiger fan, but well done Tiger on being the bigger man

      Mark - 2011-11-08 09:37

      I agree JP - well done Tiger! It would have been so easy to hammer on the racial thing, but Tiger has shown that he is a bigger man than that.

  • Clive - 2011-11-08 09:56

    I have to ask: if Williams had referred to, for example, Phil Mickelson's "white arse", would he have been called racist? No, this is just PC gone bananas, and maybe a chip-on-the-shoulder reaction.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-08 10:22

      True, but still it shows Tiger to be a better man. Either way Williams is a White A**hole to say something like that about his previous employer. Together they made great money and like all good things they come to an end, but then keep your composure, which Williams failed to do. The All Blacks are like that, they win something every 27 years, then they think they have the right to be obnoxious forever Amen. Well done Tiger, you have a new respect from me. And as long as you get lots of top ten finishes behind Ernie, Charl and Louis, I will keep supporting you for a good 5th or 5th place, and down with Williams!

      Gareth - 2011-11-08 11:19

      @Roboman1 - I agree with you and whether it be a Facebook comment, a mention on Twitter or through other media channels to insult your previous employer is just bad form. The Samoan player has recently been through a similar situation and regardless of his feelings, right or wrong, the public will always see it as a stupid thing to do.

      Bob - 2011-11-08 11:37

      roboman1 what the hell have the AB's got to do with this, not sure where you form your opinion from on the AB's anyway, I reckon they are fantastic sportsmen and have been the best rugby side in the World for many years, only Williams and Woods know what went down between them but judging by Williams reaction not all good the way it was handled, I think I read somewhere it was just a phone call to say you are fired, if thats the case I support Williams.

  • SirFGrumpy - 2011-11-08 11:35

    If Williams had said "stick it up his white ar$e", this would not have been regarded as racist! I am confused really. This has become very silly! Grow up and get over this nonsense!

  • Wesley - 2011-11-08 11:37

    Tiger may be arragant on the greens and a whore, but always been a nice guy off the "playing" field (excuse the pun). Williams has been an all round A-HOLE ever since he got fired!

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