Woods: Steve Williams is 'not a racist'
SYDNEY – Tiger Woods says he has received an apology from former caddie Steve Williams over a racial slur, and the two met and shook hands Tuesday at The Lakes Golf Club ahead of the Australian Open.
Williams' disparaging comment came during a caddie awards party Friday in Shanghai.
Tiger Woods & Steve Williams
A look at the success of the 12-year partnership between Tiger Woods and caddie Steve Williams
Woods said Tuesday the comment "was hurtful ... the wrong thing to say, and something that he has acknowledged. Stevie is not racist."
Woods said it was not up to him to call for sanctions against Williams. The PGA Tour and European Tour have said no action would be taken against Williams.
Williams caddied for Woods throughout the American's outstanding run of success in the 2000s, but was fired last year.
Asked for the source of the animosity between them, Woods said: "That's between Stevie and me. We talked it through, and we'll leave it at that."
On Monday, Greg Norman called Williams' comment stupid, but also said he thought the New Zealand caddie was not a racist.
"We've all made stupid comments at stupid times," Norman said. "Unfortunately, his stupid comment became global news. I know he probably regrets saying it, but I guarantee you in that room on that night there was probably some heavier things said."
Adam Scott, who employs Williams full time, said in a statement "there is absolutely no room for racial discrimination in any walk of life, including the game of golf."
"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. I now consider the matter closed. I will not be making any further comment."
Woods and Scott are playing in the Australian Open, which has attracted a strong field because it precedes the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next week.
Norman said any feud between Woods and Williams needs to be sorted out.
"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," Norman said.
"I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn't need it. Golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to. Golf needs the cohesiveness that's always existed."
On Tuesday, Woods said he is injury-free for the first time in months, allowing him to practice at an accelerated rate.
"My bad rounds need to be under par, not over par," Woods said. "That's something I haven't done through this stretch."
That stretch is a victory drought of nearly two years - his last win on any tour was at the Australian Masters in November 2009.
Weeks later, news of his infidelities surfaced, followed by a divorce, injuries and swing changes, leaving his victory at Kingston Heath in Melbourne his last tour title anywhere.
On Monday, Woods said, "I've had a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), I've had a broken leg, a torn Achilles, and strained ligaments over the last five years. I've been rehabbing for so long I haven't been able to train."