Caddie's future lies in hands of former employer Woods

 

Shanghai

So it took the Australians, those masters of diplomacy, to ensure the outrage does not boil over on to the fairways. After the game's two most powerful executives allowed caddie Steve Williams to carry on regardless, after referring to Tiger Woods as "that black arsehole", the officials in Sydney vowed to do all they could to take the heat out of the race-row.

Woods arrives at The Lakes Club today for this week's Australian Open and it was widely expected that, in Thursday's first round, he would play with Adam Scott, the new boss of Williams, who rocked the sport with his outburst at a function here at the HSBC WGC Championship on Friday night. But the Australian Open's tournament director declared last night they would not allow the event to be hijacked by a controversial Woods-Williams pairing of sorts.

"No chance," Tony Roosenburg said. "Tiger and Adam would not have been playing together anyway. The players will not be distracted."

Roosenburg was, however, honest enough to admit the tournament office has not been filled exclusively with angst these past few days. There has been plenty of excitement as well since Williams caused outrage when explaining on stage at a caddies awards night why he was so animated after his first win with Scott. "My aim was to shove it up that black arsehole," Williams said.

"I don't think it's doing the Open any harm," Roosenberg said. "Certainly not – it's adding another dimension. Was I looking for this sort of build-up? No, but you take it when you can get it. The media conference with Woods will now be bigger than it was already."

Woods will speak to the press late tonight and it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about Williams's comments and, indeed, about the reactions of Scott and golf's authorities. Yesterday, Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the US Tour, and George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, released a joint statement which accepted Williams's apology on his website as sanction enough.

"The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport," they said. "We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context. We are aware that he has apologised fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment."

Their verdict baffled many. It must be presumed the Tours feel "strongly" about racist remarks – but not strongly enough to administer any punishment. The Tours have the power and mechanisms to ban Williams. Scott welcomed the decision not to and seemed angry and bemused when he was asked whether he was effectively condoning the racial slur by not dismissing Williams.

"I had Steve issue an apology," the Australian said. "What more was I supposed to do?" That was interesting as it meant that even the extent of Williams's contrition is now dubious. "Look, I don't think digging for a story out of me on this is a very good idea," Scott said.

There was no digging required; Fred Couples made sure of it. The major champion is the US captain in next week's Presidents Cup match against the International team in Melbourne. Woods and Scott are on opposite teams and, as Scott insists Williams will remain as his caddie, there is a fair chance the pair will come face-to-face. Thus, the equivalent of the Ryder Cup would be upstaged.

Couples believes Scott should not even allow this to be a possibility. "If that was my caddie he wouldn't be caddying for me today," Couples said. "You read [Williams's comments] and you say: 'Those aren't comical'."

Scott, however, believes they were part of a "humorous evening", the content of which "should never have left the room". That is, despite there being more than 200 people in a crowd containing some of the world's best players, as well as members of the media and top golfing officials and employees of the sponsor, HSBC.

Woods is known to be "disappointed" and, if he reveals at the press conference that he was offended, then the pressures on Scott and the powers-that-be will intensify to extremely persuasive levels. Whether Williams likes it or not, the probability is that his future rests in the hands of his former employer.

Woods was due this morning to play at a corporate day in Melbourne in the company of Shane Warne and his fiancée Liz Hurley and will afterwards open Warne's new bar. Then, he will travel to Sydney to a players' cocktail party at The Lakes. Scott will be there. They could share a lively discussion.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003