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Norman backs caddie Williams

GOLF: Greg Norman says his former caddy Steve Williams is not a racist and that Adam Scott was right not to fire him for a remark he made about Tiger Woods in Shanghai last week.

Williams made a derogatory and racist comment about his former employer Woods at the annual Caddy Awards dinner in China on Friday.

"Steve's not a racist, not at all," the 56-year-old former world number one said. "We've all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news and I know he probably regrets it.

"But I guarantee you in that room, that night, there were some heavier things said."

Scott and Woods will both play at the Australian Open at the Lakes Golf Club this week.

Scott, ranked number eight in the world, personally apologised in a statement and said it was time to move on from the controversy.

"I have discussed this matter directly with Steve and he understands and supports my view on this subject," Scott said.

"On behalf of my team, I apologise personally to everyone who was offended by the reported comments. Please accept this apology so we can all move on."

Williams has apologised for the remark. Woods will hold a news conference in Sydney tomorrow.

Thornton seals his card

GOLF: Simon Thornton dedicated his magnificent seven-under-par round of 64 to his newborn son after sealing his card for next season's European Tour with the best round of the final day at the Apulia San Domenico grand final.

The pressure had been on the Down man to secure any sort of European Tour card after a level-par third round of 71.

But his star show on the final day earned him a share of sixth on 12-under and secured him a top-15 place on the final Challenge Tour money list and his place on the main Tour.

Saints maintain lead

Basketball: DCU Saints continue to lead the northern conference after wins over Killester (93-69) and Belfast Star (79-63), with Pat Glover scoring 38 points over the course of the two games.

In the Women's SuperLeague, DCU Mercy eased past Meteors, UL beat Glanmire 87-71 and Ulster Rockets left it late to beat Brunell, while Killester and Waterford Wildcats had comfortable wins against Dynamos and Liffey Celtics respectively.

Coghlan wins in Dublin

Athletics: MSB's John Coghlan won the senior men's race at the Dublin Cross-Country Championships in Santry yesterday. Elish Kelly, of Raheny Shamrock, won the women's race, with Raheny taking both team titles.