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Why golf should have responded quicker to Williams slur

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Iain Carter | 10:27 UK time, Sunday, 6 November 2011

WARNING: This blog contains language some may find offensive.

It was American Presidents’ Cup captain Freddie Couples who broke a silence that was damning golf in the wake of the Steve Williams race row.

Until a statement issued at the completion of the HSBC WGC Champions tournament in Shanghai, there had been no official comment from the golfing authorities in the wake of the caddie's racial slur against Tiger Woods on Friday evening.

The International Federation of PGA Tours had to address the issue because the absence of condemnation from the top of the game would only reinforce a perception that golf has a race problem.

Steve Williams

Steve Williams, one time caddie for American golfer Tiger Woods, has stunned the world of golf with an extraordinary racist insult against his former employer.PHOTO: Getty

The statement issued through PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady read: “We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context.

“We are aware he has apologised fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks ever again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed and we will have no further comment.”

Why it took until after the tournament was completed for official condemnation to arrive is hard to fathom. An immediate response was required on Saturday morning to show that Williams’s remarks were not acceptable.

This would also have helped shut down the story and would have allowed a superb tournament with fine sponsors to reclaim the headlines.

At least Couples offered a timely and strong opinion. The United States’ skipper said: "If that was Joe LaCava he wouldn't be caddying for me today.”

LaCava is Couples’ former caddie who now works for Woods. Couples added: “If a caddie has that kind of anger for a pretty good guy, I don't want him around me.”

On Friday it was a boisterous, funny and supposedly off-the-record evening when the caddies hand out their end-of-year awards.

When Williams was called up to collect a prize for the way he celebrated winning at Akron with Adam Scott in the wake of being sacked by Woods, he was asked about the manner of his celebrations last August. Williams replied by saying: “It was my aim to shove it right up that black arsehole.”

By referring to the colour of Woods’s skin, the comments of his former caddie became the talk of the evening and inevitably found their way into the newspapers.

Yes it was supposed to be a fun evening but a comment of this nature was never going to stay within the four walls of a room occupied by some of the biggest names in world golf.

Williams’s current employer Scott expressed disappointment that it was made public – but he should have been more concerned with the damaging nature of his caddie’s words.

At least the Australian was the man who instructed Williams to apologise. After his final round in Shanghai, Scott said: “I don’t think anyone condones racism in sport. I had Steve issue an apology. What more should I do?”

There is no room for racist behaviour but some context is important. The offending words were said at a boisterous evening with ripe locker room banter flying left, right and centre.

It would have been entirely in keeping for Williams to seek a laugh at Woods’s expense – indeed it was probably expected.

But he did it in an unsophisticated manner and, as he acknowledged in the apology, in a way that could be construed as racist.

That was unacceptable and the Tours and Scott should have said so more quickly than they did.

Some commentators have called for Williams to be drummed out of the game but that could be seen as draconian because some people on the circuit feel he is a victim of his own shortcomings as a public speaker.

He is undoubtedly lacking social grace and, given the nature of the evening, I find it hard to believe the phrase was laced with the malice one usually associates with such comments.

Maybe that is an overly generous assessment but what is certain is that his actions should not go without censure.

It remains a hugely damaging thing for Williams to have said and highly detrimental to the game that pays his wages.

Regrettably, it also means it won't be just golf that will dominate the news agenda for this week's Australian Open where Scott and Woods are both playing and the following week's Presidents' Cup in Melbourne where the two players are on opposing sides.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Whilst in no way condoning what Williams said, I find Fred Couples description of Woods as a 'pretty good guy' equally offensive. Woods extra-marital affairs were not only sleazy behaviour of the highest order but also extremely humiliating to his wife - at the time - and children.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's only while relaxed and "off the record" that someone's true nature is exposed. In front of the camera, these guys are well drilled in what to say and how to say it.

    This exposes Steve Williams for what he is away from the TV camera.

    As for those running golf failing to act... did we expect anything else? The ICC can't deal with corruption and the tours cannot deal with racism. The RFU can't organise a trip to New Zealand and the FIFA can't work out if their members taking cash in an envelope is a bad thing.

  • Comment number 3.

    "could be construed as racist"? How much more racist can you get. Scott should fire Williams immediatelty (of course he won't) and no one else should hire him for at least a year, during which time he should show some real remorse and try to do something positive for educating people about racism.

    He, Scott and the various golf tours look like clowns at the moment.

  • Comment number 4.

    If this had happened in the UK he could have been charged with breach of the Equality Act 2010. Williams is a disgrace to golf and Scott should sack him.
    No matter how badly Woods is deemed to have treated Williams there is no need for racism anywhere.

  • Comment number 5.

    I hadnt seen what the comments were before I read them - having read them I feel that entirely the wrong decision has been reached. In any other job you would have been hauled, correctly for the discliplinary process - whether you meant what you said or not. You have to think of the message this sends to all of the kids playing the game. Golf is one of the sports with the highest level of integrity - and that should not stop once you get off the course.
    What Williams said was not banter, it was racist and he should have been reprimanded.
    This is in my opinion far worse then anything that really could happen on the golf course. That is a game, this is highly insulting.
    I think whether its aimed at Woods is irrelevant for it is likely to insult millions of golf fans.

  • Comment number 6.

    I dont understand why this is considered racism? All he did is mention that tiger is black, isnt it a fact that he is black? If he had said the same about a white player people wouldnt be considering it racist. Its not racist to state the colour of someones skin.

  • Comment number 7.

    hes clearly not racist as he worked with woods for years. if your a racist you wouldn't even think about workin for someone who was a different race to yours

  • Comment number 8.

    Whilst have no time or sympathy for Williams’ comment since when did Woods become “a pretty good guy”?
    Woods was a married man who bedded every bimbo he could get his hands on. He also curses his way round every golf course and shows has class by spitting all over the course.
    He was undoubtedly one of the best golfers the worlds has ever see and should not have to put up with crass comment but “a pretty good guy” I think not!

  • Comment number 9.

    Elliott. Good grief. You REALLY can't see how that is racist? If a black man said the same thing about a white man most people also would be considering it racist. They really would. Ask some adults if you're unsure of this.

  • Comment number 10.


    So by your logic Ron Atkinson could say whatever he liked about Marcel Desailly but he isn't a racist because he worked with Cyrille Regis?

    Nick Griffin would probably have caddied for Tiger Woods given the amount of money he would have earned!

  • Comment number 11.

    #7, I don't see how you reach the conclusion that because he worked for Woods he can't be racist. I'm sure at the offer of a 7-figure salary even the most staunch racist would be able to put their prejudices to one side.

    The common defence for this type of comment is, "I'm clearly not racist, some of my best friends are black". This completely misses the point of what racism is, it is about treating people differently based on the colour of their skin, forming relationships with a subset of black people does not mean that someone treats all black people fairly.

    Is Williams a racist? If his reaction to being sacked and the strength of the comment made at the award ceremony would have been the same regardless of Woods' race then the answer would be no. I doubt that that is the case, but if not a racist he's just a nasty guy in general, so equally indefensible.

  • Comment number 12.

    As usual all our golf reporters are taking the moral high ground . At any golf night in a club house worse things are said all the time . Williams comment was just a joke and should stay like that . Why should anyone care about it , Williams is not racist it is just a laugh.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good, Bad or Ugly Tiger Woods has made mistakes and humor will always be thrown in his direction as a result of his actions. Tiger name is global I see no need to make reference to the colour of his skin regarding jokes!

    The colour on ones skin has nothing and should not be part of any jokes made in society today. When colour is included in humored comments with as much disdain as Mr Williams has for Mr Woods it can only be construed as a "racial slur" as he himself makes reference.

    Its not only a sad day for Golf and Sport in general but also a constant reminder that there are some still around that behind close doors will continue to show their racial prejudice towards others, but only when it becomes public will they see the error of their ways. Its not only sport that has this problem it is also found in businesses and social networks.

    Public and closed comments should be transparent if your words are coming from your heart. Sometimes actions and words go hand in hand where no apology can defuse your true feelings.

  • Comment number 14.

    i see it as a racial comment - i.e. using the colour of tiger's skin to add description to the comment he is making about him. does this mean it is racist? i don't know, but in the modern world everything is either racist, sexist or something ist. that's why we're in such good shape.

  • Comment number 15.

    i didnt say it was acceptable to say what he said just that you cant say someones racist cos of one comment. ron atkinson did loads for black footballers at a time when racisim in the stands was still happening all the time

  • Comment number 16.

    I think Seassiders comments (12) confirm what most of us non-golfers always suspected about golf club members.

  • Comment number 17.

    Whoever thought it was a good idea to pair them up in Australia? Would be sensible to change the draw.

  • Comment number 18.

    Firstly it was a stupid thing to have said. On issues such as race you can never be too careful these days.

    The main arguing point is whether he said he was black as an insult or whether he said it just so everyone knew who he was on about. My gut reaction is that it was a joke and he said it just so everyone knew who he was on about and he really doesn't care that he's black but does care that he got sacked. Even so, i think everyone has learnt how careful you have to be now as stupid mistakes such as that can create a lot of bad publicity

  • Comment number 19.

    He and everyone else should be allowed to give any opinion they want, then they can be judged for the person they really are and their opinions can be held to account. If you don't like what they say disagree, argue it down and try to change their warped view of the world.

    Calling someone racist and telling them to shut up ain't gonna change what's going on in their head.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think this is a very complex issue and is down to each individuals perception of his comment. For me he made a comment which included Tiger's race but I'm not convinced doing this once means someone can be labelled a racist. Afterall he stated that he was Black and an a-hole not an a-hole because he is black.

    I'm not condoneing what he said but that it should be considered in context which is often not what happens when statements hit the media spotlight. I would like to see the (golfing) authorities responding appropriatly i.e talking to those who know him and work with/around him to find out if this is an isolated incident or a character trait and if it's the later then to remove him from the game.

    I hope this is more of a grievious error rather than a malicious statement (which is how I catagorise Ron Atkinsons statement).

  • Comment number 21.

    Whilst I wish he hadn't referenced the guy's skin colour, I don't think it was meant as a slur on people of that particular race. He wasn't singling him out because of his skin colour, he was doing so because he doesn't like him. If someone was racist towards black people then I don't believe they could work with them for 10 years, regardless of the pay packet. However I do believe that the golfing world should have been quicker and smarter in their response. Both Graeme McDowell and, unfortunately so given he was trying to convey the right message, Fred Couples have let themselves down in the aftermath of what is an idiotic situation.

  • Comment number 22.

    Where was your own quick condemnation Carter? You got an article out yesterday morning with none of this apparent abhorrence of William's disgraceful choice of derogatory adjective. I guess you read Lawrence Donegan's view on the Guardian and thought you better follow his lead. As usual.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great article Phil.

    One thing very clear in the comments and usually is in these situations is the lack of understanding or a better way to put it the lack of evolution of some human beings.

    Some folks are just plain racist and always will be and others are not and the distinction between the two comes out loud and clear in the comments on this article.

    If you can't see this is racist then you probably have a hard time believing 1+a=a+1. If you can't see this is racist then take a look in the mirror, because if you can't see this is racist then you are probably looking at one.

  • Comment number 24.

    Whilst I believe what Williams said was incredibly naive given the company he was in, I think that the situation has been blown out of all proportion. Given the situation, a caddies end of year award ceremony, the atmosphere will have undoubtedly been a light hearted one where jokes (and alcohol) will have been flowing all night. Just because he described Woods as black doesn't mean that Willliams is racist, just that he has very poor taste in what i'm sure he intended as "humor". If he was racist I somehow doubt Woods would have been best man at his wedding. John Terry on the other hand........

  • Comment number 25.

    Wait a minute, just because I don't think it is racist means I approve of his comment. You can't do that and it is a very simple play. There is a bit of complexity in the issue. Do you genuinely believe he stood up there to have a go at black people in general? Of course he didn't. His comments are extremely stupid and shouldn't be defended but I do not honestly believe it should result in a "racist" tag being attributed to him.

  • Comment number 26.

    If people feel strongly about this then make your feelings know to Adam Scott via the 'CONTACT US' link on his website

  • Comment number 27.

    here we go again.
    its very easy to offend the easily offended!
    the wishy washy brigade are baying for blood.
    tiger woods is 'black' incase anyone hadnt noticed.i also presume he has a hole in his bum.
    williams does have an ego the size the chip on tigers shoulder but he should be allowed to have a laugh and a joke at his former employers expensive.
    as for him being racist?....hmmmm pretty strange conclusion considering he has made a living out of carrying a black mans golf clubs for the last 12 years!.

  • Comment number 28.

    @23 are you serious? If I refuse to condemn somebody on the basis of 1 statement I must also be a racist? At no point did I condone what he said I just pointed out that the context of this comment within his character as a whole should be considered before labelling him a racist. Surely those who know and work with Mr Williams are better placed to judge than those of us who have never met him?

  • Comment number 29.

    Who really cares what Tigers ex-caddie said ! A lot to do about nothing ! Why is all the news filled with meaningless crap these days. Is there not enough real news !

  • Comment number 30.

    Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.

  • Comment number 31.

    Steve Williams was trying to be funny, he's not.

  • Comment number 32.

    There are some sensitive , thin-skinned souls in the world nowadays. I don't see this as a racist remark as such. Like others, I believe it was used to identify the person he was calling an a@#hole....he could of used 'cheating ahole', etc, but whatever. No matter how PC you want to be, TW is still black. If SW had said a white a@hole no one would have batted an eyelid. People have become so sensitive nowadays that when someone uses a word that is now rarely seen in the mainstream they get their knickers in a twist. If he had just said 'shove right back up that black man', people would still be crying...hell, you sensitive souls would still be spilling your tea if he had said 'shove it right back up that honourable black man'. Maybe 'black', 'white', 'yellow', etc, should just been wiped from the dictionary?

  • Comment number 33.

    What's funny is that there are people here who are actually trying to defend the indefensible. Of course the remark is patently racist but I, for one, am not surprised. There are many racists out there, black, white, brown etc. it's a fact of life. He is just one of them. However, this guy is the bigger whatisit considering he took Tiger's shilling for well over a decade and discovered his ex-master is a b**** ar****** only after he was let go. If you have a descriptive term for a wh**e, you are describing this guy.

  • Comment number 34.

    No one in their sensible sober mind would support Williams' use of language. He is clearly an I'll educated speaker. To call for his banishment from the sport is an over reaction but perhaps I would support it if something had been done when Woods brought the game into such disrepute with his behaviour. Alas nothing was done and I suspect the game will sadly not recover from his actions and the increasing poor standard of behaviour we see on tv and on courses everywhere

  • Comment number 35.

    Racism is endemic in australian and new zealand society, thats why scott does not find it such a bad thing to mouth off about someones color, his moral compass needs calibrating, williams is a bigoted big mouth with a penchant for running down those who have helped him in life.

  • Comment number 36.

    I cannot believe all the hoo-ha surrounding the racist content of what steve williams said. Do the worlds sports journalists honestly have nothing better to report just now? The general consensus is that Williams is not an altogether likeable person. Fine. (Woods equally so, some may offer). However, its pretty clear that this party/ceremony that the quote originated from was the type where there is a fair amount of 'roasting' takes place. That means that if someone wears glasses, you know what? they may get called 'speccy', if they have red hair - they probably get called 'Ginge'. The point I'm trying to make is that in the context of the occassion they were in, it was all implied with humour (even if the joke may stink somewhat). What annoys me most about this entire story and the comments from some people is the rush to stick labels on people in modern society. We are becoming almost Puritanical in how we expect people to behave nowadays. Say something funny and you are either racist, sexist, anti - this or anti - that. Behind our own closed doors havent we ever said a racist comment under our own breath at any time and if so, does that make us all racists by extension? or is that too unimaginable a thought for us to comprehend?
    Williams is a buffoon but what he says does not make him a racist, even if some see his joke as a racist throwaway comment.

  • Comment number 37.

    There will be protests at the tournaments williams and scott attend in australia, i bet williams never talks like that in front of maoris, cowardly.

  • Comment number 38.

    i bet all the people who disagree with the racist nature of williams are white, with the arrogance to tell black folk what is and what is not racism, the victors writing the history is what racism is.

  • Comment number 39.

    The very last word used in the slur by Williams is a perfect self description, no?

    I hope the NZ Rugby Union team catch up with Williams.

  • Comment number 40.

    I thought Tiger Woods was Black?

  • Comment number 41.

    rac·ist  [rey-sist]
    a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    Firstly yes may be Tiger is not a 'Good Guy' but Williams is no angel and owes Woods more than Woods owes him he was after all for a number of years the highest earning New Zealand 'Sports Person'.

    This is not Williams 1st faux pas remember his comments about Phil. What I can't understand is that there is no sanction for bring the game into disrepute. These guys could potentially be playing together in both the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup this will run and run and i feel Williams should take himself out of picture for the up coming events. For Scotts sake as much as anything else

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Probably unpleasant comment (depends on environment and how it was said and meant). Also a lot of people up in arms and judging very quickly.
    If an opponent and friend of Woods had looked him in the eye, just after Woods had sunk a winning put to beat him, and said the same thing with a smile - would Woods have been offended and would we have had a problem....not sure.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think some people are forgetting what this article is about. The deafening silence from the golfing world is outrageous. Apart from fred couples i have not heard any condemnation from any golfers or caddies. So are they condoning this language?

    No matter what people think about Tiger. He made this guy a millionaire and nobody would know him or care about him otherwise, golfers fire and hire caddies all the time and this bufoon seems to have taken it personally and to respond by call him what he did is unacceptable in anyones eyes and the fact that the authorities are not doing anything and that there is little reaction from the golfing world is just as abhorrent!

  • Comment number 47.

    P.s and if Adam Scott was a decent guy he would not be defending his caddy and get rid

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Calling someone a "bl*ck ar*ehole" is a racist comment. End of story. Get over it. It beggars belief that some people here either don't understand that or are making excuses for it (including, to a degree, Iain Carter).

    I agree that you don't have to be inherently racist to make a racist comment. Similarly, I guess you can make a anti-gay joke or slur or a sexist gag without being inherently homophobic or sexist, respectively.

    Williams has made himself look foolish. Woods I am sure will be able to handle it. The world will keep turning. This is not the first or last racist comment I am sure.

    But the golf world should spare us the weasel words and excuses: "good spirits"; "banter"; "bit of fun"; "unsophisticated"; "out of context"; hilariously "a victim of his shortcomings as a public speaker"; "could be construed as racist".

    The comment is racist and should be called out as such.

    Those here who think the comment is okay because, after all, Woods "is black isn't he" or draw comparisons with being called "speccy" etc are simply exposing their own ignorance.

  • Comment number 50.

    "I dont understand why this is considered racism? All he did is mention that tiger is black, isnt it a fact that he is black? If he had said the same about a white player people wouldnt be considering it racist. Its not racist to state the colour of someones skin." - Elliott

    Whatever you reckon. Yes its a fact he's black. We can all see it. So why are we having to have this pointed out to us? In that case, it would have been easier to say "I wanted to shove it up that *******", you dont have to throw in the trivia of his skin colour - unless you mean it in a derogatory sense. And if you mean it in a derogatory sense, then its clearly racism. Otherwise why pick his skiin colour out at all?

    Which Steve Williams clearly did.

    So yhea, whatever you reckon mate. He's as racist as the day is long. Some people have it so ingrained in them, hidden so deep, that even the person holding it is'nt aware of it.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Some people have it so ingrained in them, hidden so deep, that even the person holding it is'nt aware of it."

    And that might include some of the people who cant understand that those comments were racist. If you cant understand why they were racist comments, perhaps its because you might just be a closet racist without even knowing it.

  • Comment number 52.

    What shock me most is the lack of sentiment offered to Tiger in support by the golf fraternity just because had committed amoral sin. What kind of a world do we live in, is racism a tool to punish someone for a sin that many men engaged on daily basis as though Tiger deserves this butt joke? Steve's comments may not be much of an issue had he not referred to Tiger's skin colour, but he chose to use it anyway regardless. That's where his problem lies, he crossed the line blatantly to identify Tiger with his skin tone, therefore he met the definition of a racist. As for Scot, he is a spineless coward, seems to care only about his golf at the present and not the wider damage caused by his caddie to the game internationally in emerging non-white markets.

  • Comment number 53.

    And just getting away from the point of racism for a second - racist or not, the remarks betray something nasty in williams character. Even taking away the element of racism, they just are'nt the kind of comments you can come out with publically. I'm stunned he's got away with it, and I'm stunned adam scott has'nt had more to say about it. That says a lot about him too. A lot of things are people told about people in this issue, often without them needing to speak.

    Thats the really interesting thing for me.

  • Comment number 54.

    Meant to say ....a lot of things are being told about peoples characters on this issue, without them needing to speak. Meaning, by staying silent on this matter adam scott is telling me all I need to know about him as a human being. Others too.

  • Comment number 55.

    This was a racial comment not a racist comment, a racist comment would have disparaged all black golfers or all blacks.

  • Comment number 56.

    To all the usual BBC golf bloggers (especially mickysausage and that "self-confessed German" BiloMcT):

    Normal service will be resumed after this highly charged racial storm has blown over.

    In the interim, I would just like to congratulate Martin Kaymer on his sensational, if somewhat unexpected, victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions. None of us predicted his absolutely brilliant 29 over the final nine holes ... which totally blitzed the field! (My congratulations are also due to "our" Darren, who - almost unnoticed in all this brouhaha surrounding Stevie Williams - closed with a 67 and a 69 .... his only two consecutive rounds under par, if my memory serves me well, since his quite remarkable victory at this year's Open!!)

    Unfortunately, not unlike Stevie Williams, I have got myself into a bit of a "black hole", so to speak, through strongly criticising the performances and general attitude of these two major champions over the last few months. I will issue an "official apology" to them both (and to all the usual bloggers) when the current rather regrettable situation has sorted itself out.

    Regarding the Stevie Williams' alleged racial/racist slur:

    If the European Tour and PGA Tour authorities (by way of a joint statement by George O'Grady and Tom Finchem) are happy to take no action and consider the matter closed (.... similar, in fact, to the "discussion" surrounding the use and legality of belly putters), it is already very much a case of "Move along! Nothing to see/discuss here!"

    P.S. - Would there have been so much controversy if the ever-forthright Stevie Williams had said: "It was my aim to stick it up 'his' black a...hole!" ..... rather than ..... "It was my aim to stick up 'the' black a...hole"? - Some might suggest merely an anatomical comment compared with a supposed racial/racist slur!

  • Comment number 57.

    I can not believe all this hype about this so called racist comment that SW accidently came out with,he said it and has appologised for it, let it be and move on,surely there is more important things to worry about. but i do think that if TW was "white" this would not even get a mention, that's the part i have a problem with. it's all one way traffic with you dogooders, and to suggest that AS must fire him is crazy, at least they smile and are happy,not like TW whose face would sour milk

  • Comment number 58.

    I need to brush up on my racism.

    Is it racist to call Tiger a 'black a***hole?'
    Is it racist to call Tiger a 'black golfing legend'?

    Is it only the combination of the colour of his skin with something negative that makes it racist, or is it just saying the colour of his skin that is racist?


  • Comment number 59.

    Usually when people use these kinds of double-barelled insults ('stupid git', etc) the first word is used to devalue the second one, so yes it is racist, no question.

    As for the golf world acting slowly, I'm not sure who is supposed to do what about the actions of a private individual (and a bit of a non-entity as well to boot) at some sort of function organised by the caddies. I mean, the R+A? the USGA? the US tour? the European tour?

    It wasn't during any kind of a competition that they administer, so I think some people are guilty here of being a little opportunistic in laying the boot into the golfing community.

    Steve Wlliams has revealed himself to be a pretty s****y individual, and shown his true colours which will have it's own consequences...

  • Comment number 60.

    Comment 36. You are Correct. This is a simply pathetic article and anyone who is condemning the comments of Williams needs to get a life frankly. When people choose to insult someone or joke about them, they use their key feature as an introduction to the insult. In this case it was "black" - inaccurate by the way as woods is cablasian, his words not mine (google it). If he was talking about a short person, he would have called him a midget or dwarf, or a tall person may have been lanky (noone really hates tall or short people). It in no way implies racism beyond any normal levels (And for those of you who think you are moral priests, you are a little racist too) We as humans form stereotypes and prejudices to manage our lives because we cannot get to know everyone individually, and even if you have never made any negative racist comments, no doubt you have made a comment about the local "chavs" or troublemakers, just another social group. And finally, just so you hypocrites have a clearer idea of race, there is technically no such thing, anthropologically speaking as there is more variation within a "racial group" than between different races. So when you actually break it down Williams, the Kiwi, pillock and Terry the Cockney twit actually said nothing correct, wrong or racist.

  • Comment number 61.


    @6 Elliot

    you said : ...." if Wlliams had said that to a white player, people wouldn't be considering that racist ".....

    But of course if Williams had been black and addressed that same remark to a white golfer, he certainly would be slaughtered by the press and the public, still less the golfing authorities themselves.

    Racism doesn't work one way only. Recently a lot of Black sportsmen have come under attack from fellow white sportsmen calling them derogatory names with racial adjectives attached. Apart from Woods, Lewis Hamilton is under attack in F1 as well mostly by British racing fans themselves. Anton Ferdinand now under investigation being at the end of John Terry's fury, not to mention Roberto Carlos, a Brazilian under constant attack in his club in Russia. In Spain, its even worse, reminiscent of racial chanting here in England in the 70s and 80s. Racism being illegal now and there are people in sports working tirelessly to eradicate it from all aspects of sports, its disappointing then to still see people who should know better are at the forefront of this mindless racist name calling.

    The only reason why we don't see Blacks being accused of racist name calling is because they hardly ever resort to racial stereotyping or name calling themselves. They certainly do not suffer from racism themselves but are often the victims of it from their white counterparts; if anything its the whites who are suffering from racism. They use it all the time; perhaps in the hope of elevating themselves to a higher plane than their black subject of hatred.

  • Comment number 62.

    If TW is an A-Hole then why so much condemnation. If the fact the word Black was used is this truely racist? Then what about the MOBO's, congress of Black America and other such organisations are these also to be consdered racist.

  • Comment number 63.

    last paragraph of comment 61 = most ridiculous words ever strung together. You've obviously never lived in an area with a large black / asian population. A simply absurd collection of statements.

  • Comment number 64.



    ...turn you question round...

    Is it racist to call Williams a white a***ehole ?

    Isit racist to call Williams a white golf caddie ?

    ...a hint of nastiness exists in both !!

  • Comment number 65.


    Lewis Hamilton doesn't exactly help himself. During his first season in F1, he was referring to some of his fellow drivers as 'monkeys at the back of the grid'. Not to mention him playing the race card earlier this year when he received a penalty.

    I definitely don't condone racism, but this is a storm in a teacup.

  • Comment number 66.

    COMMENT 63, i could not have worded your comment any better myself,you hit the nail right on the head

  • Comment number 67.

    Whilst I think that over the years the PC mob have become a little fanatical in their labeling as racist any comment that hints at a persons ethnicity, I do think that in this case the word black was used in a racially offensive way. Yes, we know Woods is black, so no point mentioning it. He could have simply used the second word to convey his feelings towards his former employer, but using it in conjunction with his skin colour does suggest underlying issues.

    But putting that aside for a moment, what really staggers about this and other instances surrounding Mr Williams is the sheer arrogance of the man. If Adam Scott wants to limit the damage now done to his own reputation, he should offer a very timely reminder to Williams that he is just a bag carrier. He seems to be quite good at carrying bags, I'll give him that. But at the end of the day, he doesn't hit a shot, sink a putt or deal with the pressure that only the man holding the club can truly appreciate.

    But instead of recognising that he won golf's equivalent to the lottery when Woods chose him to carry his bag. Instead of appreciating the riches, prestige and friendship Woods bestowed on him during some amazing years. He prefers to see it that Woods somehow owes him. He behaves like its a case of Morecombe dumping Wise, Torvell ditching Dean. That it was a partnership of equals. It wasn't and he should recognise and appreciate just how fortunate he was to have a certain Tiger Woods in his life.

    I have followed golf for around 30 years and seen many great players during that time. Yet, i'd probably struggle to name more than 5 or 6 caddies in all that time, much less know what their voices sounded like or anything at all about their personalities. Quite why this man believes he's such a legend in his own lifetime is beyond me, but if any good comes out of this, I hope its that he just keeps his mouth shut and goes back to doing what he knows, carrying bags like all the others.

  • Comment number 68.

    Why is it that a tasteless reference to Woods' skin colour warrants the sack yet whoring and sleeping around and endangering the life of your wife (through sex with multiple partners) is okay?

    As for Couples saying Woods is a pretty good guy I think that Woods is detestable

    That said I do not condone Williams remarks in anyway

  • Comment number 69.

    I have attended many dinners such as Williams on Friday and this has been exploded out of context simply because of the specific "offended" person. If that person had been Padraig Harrington and the word "paddy" had been used, would we have the same reaction? You bet not. If the event had been USPGA alone, you can be sure Finchem would have taken a different action to the joint PGA Tours. The US tour panders to Woods even in the aftermath of his behaviour. Williams behaviour is minor compared to Woods
    PS Will the Americans want to extend the PGA tour Player of the Year post Presidents Cup in case Webb Simpson wins all matches?!! Again unprincipled behaviour

  • Comment number 70.

    williams is a fool but like many things in this Pc world we live in you use someones colour , sex , sexuality etc in public and you are setting yourself up for a fall especially when you are talking about the most famous coloured sportsman of his age. Tiger will get more publicity out of this and will be well advised before he makes any comment. In the mean time the lynch mob will get the gallows out for williams

  • Comment number 71.

    It was not a particularly bright comment. That said, it was an 'off the cuff' comment at a private engagement. I don't subscribe to the fact it was a racist comment - Tiger is black and to some he is an a********

    It would be no different if Steve Williams had called someone a fat a*******

  • Comment number 72.

    Imagine if the room had been full of black golfers and caddies. Williams would not have said what he did, pretty sure of that. To my mind, that makes it a bit iffy really.

  • Comment number 73.


    @68 admiraltroll...

    Racism is no longer tolerated these days, and illegal too; and if you persist on breaking it you could end up being heavily fined, lost of your job, or imprisoned.

    While being promiscuous and unfaithful can be regarded as, at worst, unethical and morally unacceptable. And Tiger has lost his wife because of it.

    Get the difference now???

  • Comment number 74.

    @TheTruth86 ...

    Agree with your comments re61 - utter nonsense.

    But sorry, have to disagree with your analysis re use of features in jokes. Generally I would agree that features are used in jokes to highlight differences and poke fun. But colour has become one of those features that it is no longer acceptable to use. These days when it is used, it is often because racial differentiation is intended (or it is someone playing to bygone stereotypes).

    However, I don't think Steve meant to be racist he just meant to be nasty because he has not got over being dumped by Woods. There is a lot of frustration in the guy and I think he just wanted to cut a bit deeper but made a poor choice of words.

    What does interest me about Steve is the depth of feeling he clearly has over the whole issue. He had it good for a long time, made a lot of money, but yet cannot seem to move on. I suspect there is more to this than he has admitted. Steve came out early and said he was not aware of Woods behaviour over all those years. I don't buy it - its not possible, those guys were living in each others pockets. I say, Steve knew, kept quite and expected a big pay off for doing so and instead he got the flick and he is now very bitter with it (as evidenced by last weeks comments).

    Some would say - so why doesn't he come clean then - very simple, because it would highlight that he lied.

    This is why I think there is so much anger in the guy! It's not racist but its not pretty either.

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't think the remark was intended to be deliberately racist. I am assuming Williams had a less than amicable parting with Woods, so he was just giving vent to his feelings. The word black was simply used as a reference to Woods as a black person. The remark, without that word, would have been just as offensive to a white person. If he had meant it as a racist remark, he would have used the "n" word.

  • Comment number 76.


    On the contrary, Tiger was quoted as saying they remain friends and praised Williams for his contribution to his success over the years in Majors and the rest.

    On top of that, Williams was reportedly believed to have earned in excess of £8-10m while employed by Woods.

    Its staggering then to hear Williams being so ungrateful, to say the least, to his former employer in the manner that he did. A typical down-under arrogance ??.. I would say !!

  • Comment number 77.

    What is also staggering is that these two were best men for each other ? The fall out lacks so much respect that you have to aks yourselfe what either of them are like. No values, no class.

    I happen to think it was a very very stupid comment by a relatively stupid man. I don't think for one minute he is racist - I'll be surprised if he is on Adam Scotts bag at the Australian Open after this.

  • Comment number 78.

    I find tom Carter's comments the highest exhibition of hypocrisy perpetrated by a vast majority of people in the UK. The fact that Tiger woods had extra marital affairs and allegedly humiliated his wife is enough for him to be racially abused by this ungrateful buffoon of a caddy. Had the caddy made homophobic remarks or insults, hell would have been raining lose. We've witnessed an ex cabinet minister in the present coalition government who had a wife of so many years and kids as well, come out to the world that he has been gay all this while and indeed had a nine year affair. He was commended for being bold to come out but not criticized for being a cheat. Tiger Woods may be good at the sport he plays and makes money from but like many humans he isn't perfect. The colour of his skin should not be used to insult him as this buffoon has done and encouraged to do. Had the comments related to insulting a gay person, people will be calling for his head now.

    Racism has no place in any civil society.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    Is anyone really surprised this is the "Thug"who grabbed a camera off a spectator and threw it in the water.
    He has had a personal crusade against Phil Mickelson insulting him at every opportunity.
    Having said all that now that he has been exposed for what he is I feel he will get his comeuppance in due course so for the good of the game we should all move on.

  • Comment number 82.

    He was new Zealand highest paid sportsman,and all he was was a bag carrier ,it just smacks of sour grapes ,and about woods bring a bad person cos he had extra marital affairs ,please wake up you would give your right arm to be in shoes ,since when did a sportsmans sexual habits dictate how he is viewed ,just goes to show golf is still a small minded racist sport

  • Comment number 83.

    SJ, clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer. It is obvious that he wants to play out his feelings for Tiger in front of the media, cheap shots, no class whatsoever. Deep down I suspect that Adam Scott is furious, why should he keep having to apologise for his caddie's embarrassing behaviour. It is quite clear, caddies stay out of the limelight, period. Not SJ, he's become too self important and perhaps he might reflect that his wealth comes as a result of Tiger, he hit the shots and holed the putts !

    Poor response from the authorities - they tried their best to brush it under the carpet which will have done their sponsorship chances no good at all. If that is what SJ said, he should be severely censored, and I hope he gets his marching orders from AS.

    Dim or what !

  • Comment number 84.

    I commented previously at Nr 36 and have read the 40 or so comments posted since. The synopsis of what I've seen posted here is that there is a pretty even split between those of us who are basically male, white and racist and who seem to regard SW comments as being taken out of context and not racist. The other half seem to be having a field day advising us in clear tones just why SW is among other things, a racist, Tiger is a victim (a spitting, rude, philandering Billion dollar one at that). To those alleging racism I say 'Get a life' and get the chip off your shoulder. I just bet you are the type of people who are so perfect in how you go about life that the only comedy that makes you smile are the clips of young kids falling off swings and splitting their heads open on 'You've been Framed'. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 85.

    This is unacceptable behaviour from a caddie who should know much better. To bring colour to the statement shows he has racial issues. No matter what the problem between Tiger and Steve, without Tiger he would have not become a multi millionaire as a caddie. Major sour grapes!! The PGA tour should at the very least suspend Steve Williams for at least 3 months which would show that they do not tolerate such blatant racism!!

  • Comment number 86.

    #68 "Why is it that a tasteless reference to Woods' skin colour warrants the sack yet whoring and sleeping around and endangering the life of your wife (through sex with multiple partners) is okay?

    As for Couples saying Woods is a pretty good guy I think that Woods is detestable."

    In general I agree with you and I don't think you will find many people ready to defend Wood's for his behaviour both off the course and, in a lot of cases, on it too.

    Anybody, including Williams, is free to add their own comments regarding Wood's many transgressions and I'm sure over the last couple of years people have done just that. But you would hope that anybody airing their views could do so without bringing the colour of his skin into the frame, because frankly its not relevant. What Woods did was wrong according to the rules applied to people whatever their ethnicity and to introduce a racial element into your criticism actually demeans any valid points made.

    But the comments made by Williams weren't about his infidelity or his on course behaviour. They were directed at Wood's for having the temerity of dropping him as his caddie. Yet this was the man to whom he owed so much. An income and lifestyle that set him apart from the other bag carriers. A media exposure that established him as a celebrity in his homeland and enabled him to earn far more than many sportsmen that actually possess a talent and true sporting prowess.

    There is a saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Well I think we can add to that also a caddie who has disappeared so far up his own rear end that he has to drop his trousers to brush his teeth.

  • Comment number 87.

    All the people on here who claim Woods isn't a good guy are clearly overly influenced by what they read in the media. Are these people not friends with anyone who has cheated? Have they never played golf with someone who has cussed? All we ever see is Tiger when he is on the golf course in a competitive environment. Nobody here knows really knows if he is a 'good guy' or not. It just seems curious that very few of his fellow pros have ever had anything bad to say about him. In fact I remember John Daly saying he was a great fun. Give the guy a break, yeah it wasn't right that he had multiple affairs but take a look at yourselves and your surroundings before criticising someone you do not know and someone that has given us so many fantastic sporting moments.

  • Comment number 88.

    Williams comment was totally unacceptable.

    What he should have said was, "My aim was to shove it right up that wifecheating loverat arrsehole."

    Then no-one could have had any quibbles. :D

  • Comment number 89.

    What would be really interesting is, how many of those commenting from both sides of the argument are actually black, and have been putting up with racist comment all their lives? I'd wager not many. It is a racist comment, period, no argument. The use of a person's colour to demean or define them negatively, is racist.

    However, that doesn't necessarily make SW an automatic member of the Third Reich and only he knows how he intended his comments to be taken. He's made an almight balls up, apologised and we move on. If he was to do it again, that's a different matter but, to innacurately quote the good book, let he who is without sin, be the first to comment in the DM blog.

  • Comment number 90.

    From his past behavior, Stevie Williams is clearly a borderline sociopath who should never be let out of the house on his own. While I condemn his comment, I do not recall any sanctions from either the Tours or his previous boss when he was busy beating up the paying customers.

  • Comment number 91.

    This is clearly a subject that splits opinion. My feelings for what they are worth is that williams is a pretty nasty piece of work with a very over inflated view of himself. Personally i d made mind up about him when he said some pretty awful things about phil mickelson a few years ago but thats just me. I dont feel though that his comments can condemn him as a racist as its a throw away comment even if it is clearly too close the bone for some. We do seem to live in a over sensitive world these days. However one point of view seems to have been missed by everyone else from what i ve read and its something that has always bothered me about tiger.

    Fuzzy Zoeller got completely slaughtered 15 years ago when he gave his fairly infamous interview about a young tiger at augusta. This guy lost every endorsement he had with what was a spoof interview. A clear joke. Yet he was lampooned in media esp in the states and tiger really left him out to dry by not making any kind of comment on the subject. Yet Williams it appears is to walk away from this unscathed.

    I know its cynical to think this but i wonder if tiger was still world no 1 and still with the mrs would williams get away with this? I dont think so but i dont suppose he would have sacked him either

  • Comment number 92.

    It is clear that there is more to the Williams/Woods split than meets the eye. It was a partnership and like his own marriage, Woods broke it it up. I've no doubt, judging by Williams outburst, when Woods broke the partnership, it was not friendly, very similar to his marriage break up.

    Both of the scorned parties have not taken it well, it's usually that way in the majority of relationships and marriages and people do strike back, often with name calling. I must be a freak because both of my marriages [my first wife is a black American] splits were amicable and I am still on friendly terms after 40 years.

    Williams may or may not be a racist but the outburst can be seen as racist until one looks at the why it was said. Anger is the issue, a failure on Williams part to come to terms with being shown the door. It does not excuse the outburst but it does make it understandable. He has appeared over the years to be unpleasant but I look at both Woods and Williams as deserving each other.

    What has happened here is not appropriate but it is certainly, par for the course [yes that pun was intended].

    Should Williams be hung drawn and quartered? Of course not. He has probably lost the one thing that money cannot buy, respect from his peers.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 73 - no, racism is not illegal. Incitement to racial hatred is illegal, and racist behaviour as part of an *actual* crime (e.g. racially aggravated assault) might gain the perpetrator some extra sentencing. But fortunately, we don't live in a world where thoughts are policed, much as I'm sure your type might welcome such a change.

    Yes, racist behaviour is not, and should not, be tolerated. Yes, people lose their jobs over comments such as those SW made, not without justification. But the fact that you plainly consider one word out of place to be far worse than a decade of immoral, deceitful and demonstrably harmful behaviour which ruined at least one woman's life simply shows how warped your priorities are.

    It wasn't so long ago that adultery and interracial marriage were illegal. Citing a stupid law as support for your position is nothing more than an appeal to authority / majority, and it would be just as logically fallacious if I did it in the day when those laws were extant, as it is when you do it now. And the law against the incitement of racial and religious hatred is a stupid law.

  • Comment number 94.

    It all seems double standards to me. Cast your mind back to France earlier this year. Bubba Watson refused to share a car with Shiv Kapur in an act far more racist than that above. Nothing was done. The minute it involves Tiger Woods and potentially a lot of big money sponsors, then the race card is waved on high. We have been here before with Fuzzy. This is all about money and nothing else. If it had been any other player, we would not be having these discussions now.

  • Comment number 95.

    I've said it on here before and ill say it again. Steve Williams is a disgrace and always has been and this incident just proves it further. He should be sacked and not employed by anyone else ever again. the game doesnt need the racist idiot.

    In much better more pleasant good was Kaymer's back 9. Great to see a fellow German winning again. Don247, best back 9 we've seen for donkeys years i think.

    What do the regular bloggers like Sumo82, mickysausage and jeffkenna think? Lets stick to the golf lads,i dont think we need to talk nonsense about the Williams race row like so many on here who have turned up out of nowhere just to focus on Williams comments.

  • Comment number 96.

    Race is an industry all by itself. Political agitators and quangos have a vested interest in highlighting what is real and manufacturing momentum out of something that was not meant or even said. Either way they have an interest in finding as much "racism" real or spurious as they can. Is it now to be a criminal offence to mention the colour of someone's skin. Actually that would be good because an awful lot of Black and Asians would be in trouble if it were. There is only money to be made and trouble to be stirred in White on Black racism. Black on Black, Asian on Black and equally importantly Black on White racism can be conveniently ignored. % white guys mug a black kid and it is a "racist assault" 5 black guys mug a white kid and it is just a "mugging". Double standards exist because it is the narrow political and financial interest of certain groups to to keep it going. The Met. Police are hamstrung by it to the extent that they can't do their job properly. You can bet your life that people will be on to Adam Scott next and accusing him of latent racism because he isn't jumping on the bandwagon too. In a weird kind of way it is becoming like Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. People are being persecuted because they are not thinking like the Moral majority. A thought out of step can be costly. Not jumping to the Race relations Diktat can be costly. It is a lazy and divisive step, but an increasingly common one, to shout "racist" at anybody and everybody you can. This doesn't help black people at all, it was never designed to. It was designed to make money and influence for a narrow band of political agitators. Many who are now being made Lords and Ladies and find well paid seats on Council benches. They are playing a game and it is a game that should be seen for what it is. It serves little purpose but their own and certainly doesn't bring comfort to millions of ordinary black people. But there are many meetings to be had, many expense accounts to be nourished, many titles to be gained out of the industry of Race. watch out Golf, you are next.....

  • Comment number 97.

    I get frustrated by a lot of comments I see about racism. Using a racist slur or insult, is and always will be unacceptable, but is calling someone 'Black' really an insult, surely its just a description? Williams was merely using this as a way of pointing out who it was he was reffering to without directly insulting Tiger. He didnt imply that the insult was anything to do with skin colour or race, no one complains when Tiger is referred to as the 'First major Black Golf Pro', and im not sure how this is any different. Yes it was in poor taste, but not because Williams is racist, just because he's a bit crude!

  • Comment number 98.

    BiloMcT - Kaymer's last 12 holes were astonishing. Really bizarre the way Casey fired his early five birdies while Kaymer strung several pars together, and then the momentum reversed in their group with a vengeance.

    It's a transitional period in golf right now with no massively dominant figures - but I think Kaymer is the real deal, and I expect to see some epic battles between McIlroy and Kaymer over the next few years. I'm hoping to see Donald kick on from his excellent season and claim a major, and it'd be nice to see Manassero in the mix too as his game looks awesome. With Garcia maybe also returning to form (here's hoping), it's hard to see Europe relinquishing the Ryder Cup in the near future...

  • Comment number 99.

    BiloMcT, couldn't agree more. We should be talking about the weekend's golf, not what a caddie said.

    Don247, you must be eating some serious humble pie after claiming his game was going south faster than a speeding BMW!

  • Comment number 100.

    This whole race thing really annoys me. I am British and we are often called 'Brits', yet people call others racists when a Pakistani is referred to by the first four letters! Work that out. A coloured person can call a white person what they like and that's OK, yet a white person refers to a coloured person by anything resembling their actual colour and that is racist. This country is made up of about 25% 'other nationalities' and yet we the majority are dictated to, and a great number of Brits help to make things worse by pampering to these people. I might call someone a bastard, but I not actually saying their parents were not married, (which is not really the proper description of the word anyway), often we use such words to mates in jest, this world is built on humour, without it we would be lost, we say things not to offend but to wind up, it maybe seen as crude humour by some, but it is without intent and not racist. Calling someone white is a description of what they look like not racist. If I know someone called Black and I refer to him as you Black so and so, is that racist? Some people will always find bad in any remark, just like Mary Whitehouse could see filth in anything. It's all to do with that annoying thing PC, which came to us from over the water, pity it did not drown on it's way across. Stop moaning, if someone refers to you by the colour of your skin, ignore it, it's not being racist, like when a person is referred to by their accent, or place of birth, Scotty, Jock, Yorky, Taff, Scouse, Brummy, live with it, stop moaning, and get a life!


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