Williams in Woods race slur
Published 05/11/2011 | 05:00
Steve Williams last night stunned the world of golf with an extraordinary racist insult against former employer Tiger Woods.
The controversial New Zealand caddie had been asked on stage, during a dinner at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, to explain his notorious gloating celebration after Adam Scott's win at Akron in August. He replied, in reference to Woods: "My aim was to stick it right up his black a*******."
The remark by Williams left the audience of players, caddies and sponsors aghast.
While the occasion had been intended as a light-hearted celebration of the 'caddie of the year' award, Williams' comment was uniformly seen as beyond the pale and escalated his bitter sniping at Woods to a remarkable new level.
Scott, the Australian world No 8 whose bag Williams took over after being sacked by Woods in July was listening, alongside other top-10 players including Rory McIlroy.
The incident took place when Williams, who received a tongue-in-cheek award from fellow caddies for 'celebration of the year', was invited to recall his infamous swipe against Woods in Ohio three months ago.
The 47-year-old said after victory for Scott at the Bridgestone Invitational in their first tournament together: "I have been caddying for more than 30 years now and that is the best win of my life.
"A lot has been said and it is great to back it up. I back myself as a frontrunner as a caddie and I have won again."
He later clarified: "I had a lot of emotions going on all week. When Adam won, all of a sudden that emotion poured out. But it's time to move on. The Tiger thing is over."
Not if this latest performance was any gauge. The racist "black" barb in Williams' attack betrayed the depth of his antipathy towards Woods.
He had been at the former world No 1's side for 13 of 14 of his Major championship victories, winning more than £3m in the process, before the acrimonious split.
Williams stayed consistently tight-lipped during the sex scandal that engulfed Woods in 2009 and has since claimed he feels that loyalty was betrayed.
He said in an interview with New Zealand television, following his July firing: "You could say I've wasted the last two years of my life. I've stuck with Tiger and been incredibly loyal.
"I'm not disappointed I've been fired -- that's part of the job -- but the timing is extraordinary. I, along with a lot of people, lost a lot of respect for Tiger and I pointed out before his return at the Masters in 2010 that he had to earn back my respect. Through time I hope he can gain my respect back."
That prospect looks impossible in the wake of Williams' outburst in China last night.
On the course, Swede Fredrik Jacobson leads the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai after a second-round 66 took him to 11-under-par, one ahead of Williams' employer Scott and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen.
Lee Westwood birdied three of the last six holes for a 68 to edge ahead English colleagues Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Simon Dyson as well as Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.
Compatriot McIlroy improved only one position to joint 17th with a 69 that contained seven birdies, but also four bogeys. Reigning Open champion Darren Clarke shot a 76 to finish five-over.
Meanwhile, three-times Major champion Padraig Harrington has been re-signed by Wilson Golf.
"I have been with Wilson Golf most of my professional career," said Harrington.
"I work very closely with the Wilson R&D team and I count on them to continue to develop great golf clubs that can help me win Majors." (©Daily Telegraph, London)
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