Golfer Adam Scott said his caddie Steve Williams meant no racial slur against Tiger Woods with comments he made about the 14-time major champion during an awards dinner, and that he now considers the matter closed.
Williams, who was fired by Woods in July, made the remarks at the Nov. 4 event attended by caddies and players in Shanghai. Williams apologized the following day, saying his comments could have been construed as racist.
Although the U.S. and European Tours said yesterday that Williams’s reported remark was “entirely unacceptable” and that they considered the matter closed following his apology, players including Fred Couples had said over the weekend that the New Zealander should be fired or suspended. Woods and Scott are scheduled to play in this week’s Australian Open in Sydney.
“I believe there is absolutely no room for racial discrimination in any walk of life, including the game of golf,” Scott said in a statement today issued by tournament organizers. “I have discussed this matter directly with Steve and he understands and supports my view on this subject. I also accept Steve’s apology, knowing that he meant no racial slur with his comments.”
Two-time major champion Greg Norman said today that Williams, who previously worked for him, isn’t a racist.
“We’ve all made stupid comments at stupid times,” Norman said at a televised news conference. “Unfortunately his stupid comment became global news. 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.”
Williams received a mock award at last week’s dinner for “Celebration of the Year” for a television interview after Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational in August, according the Daily Telegraph in London. During the interview he called the victory the best of his life, even though he carried Woods’s bag for 13 major championships.
Woods, who last won a tournament two years ago at the Australian Masters, split with Williams in July after 13 years and 72 victories, saying it was “time for a change.” Williams said the dismissal came as a shock.
Woods hired Joe LaCava, who previously worked for Couples and Dustin Johnson, in September. LaCava is the third full-time caddie of Woods’s career after Williams and Mike “Fluff” Cowan, who was on the bag for the American’s first major victory at the 1997 Masters Tournament.
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