There was a lot of noise about a comment Steve Williams made at the annual Caddie Awards dinner over the weekend. Granted, it was a very stupid thing to say, but does it make him a racist?
Williams received a mock award for the ‘Celebration of the year’ for his TV interview after his boss Adam Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie claimed it was the best win of his career, despite winning 13 Majors on Woods’ bag.
The yearly Caddie Awards dinner is generally a very relax affair with ample banter and joking amongst friends, which Williams obviously took a bit too far when he accepted the award by saying, “It was my aim to shove it right up that black a******.”
Not smart Steve, not smart.
The party is known as a bit of a roast where the caddies give each other and the players a lot of stick, and the provision of the event is that all comments are off the record.
But Williams’ comments were the talk of the town long after the dinner was over.
When informed the next day that his words had made front-page news, Williams couldn’t believe it, "Why would they do that?" he said. "The whole thing was meant to be fun."
However, shortly afterwards he posted an apology on his website.
"I apologise for comments I made last night at the Annual Caddie Awards dinner in Shanghai," it said. "Players and caddies look forward to this evening all year, and the spirit is always joking and fun. I now realise how my comments could be construed as racist. However, I assure you that was not my intent. I sincerely apologise to Tiger and anyone else I've offended."
Now the Mole finds it incredibly difficult to believe that Williams is a racist. He worked with Tiger for 12 years, that would be a pretty bitter pill to swallow for a bigot just for some cash.
Williams is known as a bit of a ‘talk now, think later’ type attention hound, and thinking about what the vibe of a caddie awards dinner must be like – it was a recipe for disaster.
I think Adam Scott nailed it on the head when he said, "Look, anything with Tiger involved is a story.”
Scott added that he would not be firing Williams over the comment, and that he was not a racist.
"We all know that's not the case," he said. "Everything in that room last night was all in good spirits and a bit of fun, probably taken out of that room in the wrong context."
After an emergency meeting between European Tour chief George O'Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, it was decided that Williams’ apology was enough and no further punishment would be handed out.
"The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport," their statement 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."
Australian Open officials have already announced that they will do everything in their power to make sure Williams and Woods don’t run into each other, but no such promises can be made a week later at the Presidents Cup.
You can bet your bottom Dollar that one or both of the captains will be thinking about how they can use the friction between Woods and Williams to their advantage. I can imagine it’d also be quite the draw card for crowds if Adam Scott is paired against Tiger.
Racist? No. Stupid? Without a shadow of a doubt. What do you think?
Should Scott and the two tour chiefs been harsher on Williams? Let the Mole know your thoughts.