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Williams claims race row 'blown out of proportion'


Steve Williams still doesn't know what all the fuss is about. Yesterday the caddie who last week called his former employer, Tiger Woods, "that black arsehole", told a reporter he believes the race row has been blown out of all proportion.

Williams talked to The Sydney Morning Herald journalist after his reconnaissance of The Lakes Golf Club there, where his new boss Adam Scott will line up against Woods in this week's Australian Open. "He is stunned by the reaction to what he said at a fun evening. Blown out of all proportion might sum up his reaction," wrote Peter Stone.

Scott felt obliged to ask Williams to issue an apology in the morning following the racist remarks he made on stage at a caddie awards ceremony here on Friday night. At breakfast, a few hours before his scripted contrition on his website, Williams expressed disbelief to an American journalist who had informed him the story was in the public domain. "Why did they [the journalists] do that?", he said. "The whole thing was meant to be fun."

Despite issuing a statement yesterday saying "there is absolutely no room for racial discrimination in any walk of life", Scott maintained he would not dismiss Williams. "I have discussed this matter directly with Steve and he understands and supports my view," said the Australian. "I also accept Steve's apology, knowing that he meant no racial slur."

That is a belief shared by Greg Norman. Scott's countryman will lead the International team into battle against America in next week's Presidents Cup in Melbourne. And the two-time major winner sees no problem in Woods being pitted against his ex-caddie. Said Norman: "We've all made stupid comments at stupid times."