Time for Williams to show up, keep up and shut up
It will puzzle a lot of people why Tiger Woods decided to give his former caddie Steve Williams such an easy ride yesterday -- in public at least.
"Stevie is certainly not a racist -- there's no doubt about that," said Woods in Australia as if he was leaping to the defence of a close friend wrongly accused of saying something bad about somebody else.
New Zealander Williams ought to be wondering how he has escaped so lightly from his completely out-of-order comment in Shanghai last Friday.
And not just from Woods, the object of his "that black a*******" remark at a caddie awards dinner attended by players and officials.
Whatever he thinks about Woods, Williams should surely be ashamed of himself for bringing colour into it.
Yet his current boss Adam Scott decided it was not a sacking offence and the statement from the heads of the American and European Tours, while considering what Williams said "entirely unacceptable", deemed the matter closed after the caddie's apology.
Now Woods wants to have a line drawn under the controversy and move on as well. "It was a comment that shouldn't have been made and certainly one he wishes he didn't make," Woods said at the Australian Open in Sydney, where he hopes to end his two-year winless streak.
"We met face-to-face and we talked it through. We shook hands. Obviously it was the wrong thing to say. That's something that we both acknowledge now. He did apologise. It was hurtful, but life goes forward."
Wisely, Woods and Scott have not been drawn together in the first two rounds at The Lakes tomorrow and Friday.
Woods, though, hopes that a return to Australia -- scene of his last win in November 2009 -- might be the start of a comeback for the former world No 1.
"It's nice to be able to train properly," he said. "I was limited for so long at how many golf balls I could hit because of the injury, but now that's all been taken away I can practise all day.
"Winning tournaments and being consistent -- I've been lucky enough to have done it for a decade, so there's nothing wrong with doing it again."
Woods has admitted he was fortunate to be handed a Presidents Cup pick, but now comes the tough bit -- proving he was worth it. For Williams, meanwhile, the time is probably right to revert to the three basic jobs most players want from a caddie: show up, keep up, shut up.