Woods forgives caddie for critical comments

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The Independent Online

Steve Williams yesterday revealed he will be on Tiger Woods' bag when the world No 1 makes his return at the Masters in two weeks' time. There had been speculation the New Zealander was to be sacked for criticising his employer.

Williams told Fox Sports: "I've told Tiger I'd be there." Three weeks ago, Williams declared that he would have "blown the whistle" on Woods if he had known about his extra-marital affairs. Williams has reiterated he was not party to the golfer's "transgressions", which led to his break from golf.

Meanwhile, Woods came in for criticism yesterday for two interviews he gave on Sunday, the first since the crash outside his home in November. Another network, CBS declined the opportunity because of the five-minute limit stipulated by the Woods camp.

It was also a condition the interviews would not be screened until 7.30pm. The PGA Tour event in Tampa Bay was scheduled to finish at 6pm but a rain delay meant that just as Woods was hitting the screens Jim Furyk was on the 18th, winning the Transitions Championship. While Furyk took being overshadowed well the sponsors were not pleased.

"We are a bit disappointed that they chose to air that story at the conclusion of an exciting tournament," said David Cole, the managing director for Transitions Optical. "We invest a lot of money as a title sponsor."

Woods has been advised by Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W Bush, but he is reported to have "withdrawn his services" because he was becoming "too big a part of the story".