THE CONTROVERSY surrounding Tiger Woods and former caddie Steve Williams was reignited today after it emerged Williams criticised his former employer over his extra-marital affairs.
Williams made the remarks in an interview recorded last month, before his widely reported racial slur against the former world number one. It was aired as the pair faced each other in competition at the Presidents Cup today.
The New Zealander insisted he knew nothing about Woods' string of infidelities which were exposed in 2009, triggering a slump that saw the 14-time major champion slide down the world rankings.
“I guess I thought I knew him well and I didn't,” Williams said.
“I just didn't like having my name associated with it,” he added. “That sort of activity is not something that I have anything to do with and it's something I didn't like.”
Williams, who was sacked by Woods in July, said he would have left the US golfer in no doubt about his feelings had he known what was going on.
“I’m a very loyal sort of person, I don't agree with that sort of behaviour. I would have been strongly giving my piece of advice,” he said.
The comments were made public on the day Williams and his new boss, Australian Adam Scott, played in the same foursome as Woods at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, a game in which Woods and team mate Steve Stricker were trounced by a President’s Cup record 7&6.
Williams has already apologised to Woods for saying he wanted to “shove it right up that black *******”, describing a victory celebration, in comments made during an awards dinner in Shanghai.
The pair came face to face last week at the Australian Open in
Sydney, where Woods came third, with the American saying the pair had shaken hands and agreed to move on.
Tiger played abysmally today, failing to register a single birdie.
“They got off to a good start and we just couldn’t keep up,” said a disappointed Woods afterwards.
“We kept the ball on the wrong side of the slopes and this golf course is so difficult that it’s hard to make up shots. They shot four-under par on us.”
Despite that defeat the Americans hold a 4-2 lead after the first day.
Pádraig Harrington warmed to the defence of his Iskandar Johor Open title with a seven-under par 64 on today to sit just one shot off the lead after a rain-hit opening round.
Harrington chipped-in for eagle at his fourth hole and offset a single bogey with six birdies to equal his best round of the season and sit in a tie for second place behind in-form Dutchman Joost Luiten.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Australia’s Marcus Fraser are the two players alongside the |three-times major winner in the clubhouse at the Horizon Hills course.