Williams under fire again after racially tinged insult
Steve Williams made news again with another derogatory remark about his former employer, Tiger Woods, at a dinner at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Friday night, and this time observers were abuzz over the racial nature of his intemperate comment.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, Williams was on stage and in front of a microphone to accept a caddie award at Le Meridien Sheshan hotel and lashed out when he was asked why he celebrated so exuberantly after his new boss Adam Scott's victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.
"My aim was to shove it right up that black -------," Williams was quoted as saying in the Telegraph. The comment surprised many and appeared in several tweets in the minutes immediately following the dinner.
Williams later issued an apology on his website.
"I apologize for comments I made last night at the Annual Caddy Awards dinner in Shanghai. Players and caddies look forward to this evening all year and the spirit is always joking and fun. I now realize how my comments could be construed as racist. However I assure you that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to Tiger and anyone else I have offended."
Scott and Rory McIlroy were among the players in the crowd, according to the paper. Williams is scheduled to work for Scott at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, where the International team will take on the Americans in two weeks. Woods, one of captain Fred Couples's wildcard picks, is also scheduled to compete.
Williams, who threw a photographer's camera into a lake and called Phil Mickelson a p---- during his years with Woods, is a well-respected veteran, but his latest outburst could create a dilemma for Scott, a mild-mannered Australian who already had to grin and bear Williams's strange interview on CBS after the Bridgestone.
"I have been caddying for more than 30 years now, and that is the best win of my life," the controversial caddie said in a not-so-subtle jab at Woods. And he was just getting started.
According to the Telegraph, that diatribe led to this one, as Williams was receiving a made-up award for "celebration of the year" when he made his latest inflammatory comments at Sheshan on Friday. Graeme McDowell tweeted that he had enjoyed a "great night at the #HSBC Caddy of the Year awards. Hilarious evening with plenty of banter. Some of it a little edgy!"
Woods won 13 of his 14 majors with Williams on the bag, but their partnership began to suffer in the wake of Woods's well-chronicled affairs and the golfer's subsequent nosedive between the ropes. Williams claimed he had no knowledge of his boss's secret life, but he was guilty by association in the eyes of many. What hurt even worse was that Woods and Williams commenced a year-and-a-half stretch of mostly lousy golf. For a player and caddie who had grown used to winning one of every three tournaments, it was an embarrassment.
With Woods sidelined after reinjuring himself at the Masters in April, Williams caddied for Scott--whose swing has at times resembled Tiger's circa 2000--at the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in June. It was meant to be a temporary assignment, but Williams caddied for Scott at the AT&T National in July, and according to at least one published report, he did so without asking permission from Woods.
Williams claimed he was taken completely by surprise when he was fired, and was furious.
"You could say I've wasted the last two years of my life," he said in a television interview in New Zealand. "I've stuck with Tiger and been incredibly loyal."
After using friend Bryon Bell on the bag for the PGA Championship in Atlanta, where he missed the cut, Woods settled on Joe LaCava, another veteran.
Now it could be Scott and Williams who are looking for new business partners after yet another clear violation of the caddie credo by one of New Zealand's most famous sportsmen: Show up, put up and shut up.
(Photo: Shaun Best/Reuters)