Steve Williams is not a racist. But there are definitely some issues that need to be resolved between the caddie and his former employer, Tiger Woods.
So says another former employer of Williams, Greg Norman, who was asked Monday about the caddie's controversial comment about Woods last week, perceived by many to be racist.
Norman, who had Williams as a caddie for several years in the 1980s, replied “no, not at all,” when asked if Williams was racist.
“We've all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news,” Norman said from The Lakes in Sydney, site of this week's Australian Open. “I know he probably regrets saying it, but I guarantee you in that room on that night there was probably some heavier things said.”
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 being 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 morning. “I now realize how my comments could be construed as racist," he wrote. "However, I assure you that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to Tiger and anyone else I've offended.”
Scott also addressed the issue in a statement Monday, saying he accepts "Steve's apology, knowing that he meant no racial slur with his comments. I now consider the matter closed."
Hopefully, it is. Although with both Woods and Scott also playing in Australia this week, who knows what might come out of the apparently still-bitter caddie's mouth next?
Woods is expected to respond to Williams' comments during a news conference at The Lakes on Tuesday. Norman said Williams and Woods needed to work out their differences.
“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."
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-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Steve Williams. Credit: Andrew Redington / Getty Images