Steve Williams.
Steve Williams. Janna Dixon

Scott moving on from racist slur

KIWI golf caddie Steve Williams' boss is standing by him in the controversy over his racist slur against Tiger Woods.

And it appears he'll escape punishment from golf's top bosses.

Yesterday Williams denied he was a racist and said his comment calling former employer Tiger Woods a "black arsehole" were made in jest.

But the outburst had the golfing world questioning whether Australian Adam Scott, whose sponsors include Rolex and Titleist, will keep Williams as a caddie.

One tour source said: "It's going to be difficult for Adam Scott if sponsors think he has a racist carrying his bag."

But yesterday Scott said "absolutely" that Williams would be working for him the next two weeks in Australia.

That includes the Australian Open, where he will play with Tiger Woods.

"I don't see it being an issue moving forward," Scott said.

Williams had apologised, and "the matter has been put to bed".

"I've got nothing more to talk about it with anyone. So I'm moving on."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour chief executive George O'Grady issued a statement, saying they spoke for the International Federation of PGA Tours that it "feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport'', ESPN reported.

"We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context,'' the statement said.

"We are aware that he has apologised fully and we trust we will not hear remarks ever gain. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment.''

Geoff Dickson, of AUT University's faculty of health and environmental sciences, said Williams' partnership with Woods and blunt nature meant he had "broken the mould" for caddies.

"Up until two months ago, caddies were never the feature of golf.

"I think it would be a concern to Scott's sponsors. Whether it be a major concern, I think the jury is still out on that one."

University of Otago senior lecturer in marketing John Guthrie said that if Scott kept performing well with Williams as a caddie the controversy could blow over.

"It's a hard one to call ... the other Tiger stuff was bigger, and it was probably easier to pick that some of his major sponsors would say, 'enough'."

Yesterday Williams told broadcaster Murray Deaker that when he made the comments at an award function for caddies during the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, everybody "laughed their heads off".

"[The controversy is] just so offbeat it's a joke ... It's making a mountain hill out of a molehole [sic]."