Tiger Woods says Steve Williams is 'certainly not a racist'
Tiger Woods shook hands with his ex-caddie Steve Williams when the two met ahead of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The one-time top-ranked golfer said Williams apologized for public comments last week that were perceived as a racial slur.
“Stevie's certainly not a racist," Woods said Tuesday from The Lakes in Sydney. "There's no doubt about that. It was a comment that shouldn't have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn't make.”
Williams, who now caddies for Adam Scott, made his comments during a caddies' awards party Friday in Shanghai. In discussing an interview he gave in August -- during which he called a PGA Tour victory by Scott only days after Williams was fired by Woods "the best win of my life" -- Williams said, "It was my aim to shove it right up that black [expletive].”
Williams posted an apology on his website the next day, saying he realized how the comments could be viewed as racist but that was not his intent.
“It was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledge,” Woods said. “He did apologize. It was hurtful, certainly, but life goes forward.”
Woods fired Williams in July after 13 years and 13 major championships. He was asked Tuesday how the relationship became so bitter so quickly.
“That's a great question, I don't know that one,” Woods said. “It was a tough decision to make to go in a different direction in my personal life, but as far as personally, I don't know how it could have happened the way it did. But it just did and here we are.
“It's just one of those things where we'll see what time does and as we all know, time does heal wounds.”
Woods stopped short of revealing the specific source of the animosity between the two. “That's between Stevie and me," he said. "We talked it through, and we'll leave it at that.”
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Tiger Woods speaks at a news conference ahead of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Credit: Rob Griffith / Associated Press