Woods says ex-caddie is ‘not a racist’ after slur

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Woods says ex-caddie is ‘not a racist’ after slur

SYDNEY - Tiger Woods says he received an apology from former caddie Steve Williams over a racial slur when the two met and shook hands yesterday.

“We talked this morning, we met face to face and talked about it, talked it through,’’ Woods said, ahead of the Australian Open at the Lakes Golf Club.

Last week, Williams explained that he gave a contentious television interview at this year’s Bridgestone Invitational - soon after being dismissed by Woods - because it “was my aim to shove it up that black a------.’’

“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 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 for the comment.

“Stevie’s certainly not a racist,’’ Woods said yesterday. “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.’’

He was asked how two people so close together for more than a decade - Williams was on Woods’ bag for 13 of his 14 majors over 13 years - could become so distant so quickly. Woods fired Williams in July.

“That’s a great question, I don’t know that one,’’ Woods said. “For me personally 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.’’

Asked for the source of the animosity between the pair, Woods replied: “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 felt the New Zealand caddie was not a racist.

“We’ve all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news,’’ Norman said. “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, whose win at the Bridgestone Invitational prompted Williams interview, remains the New Zealander’s employer. He said in a statement that he believes “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 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.

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