Date: November 07, 2011
Author: Adam Lucius

Tiger row upsets Norman

Former world No.1 Greg Norman has labelled the bitter spat between Tiger Woods and his former caddie Steve Williams as &apossad for golf&apos, calling on the warring parties to declare a truce before it further damages the game. Williams, still enraged he was sacked by Woods in the fallout from the star&aposs sex scandals, reignited their largely one-way stoush by describing his former boss as a &aposblack arsehole&apos at a caddies&apos function in Shanghai. The Kiwi bagman has since apologised for his comments but the furore shows no sign of abating as the two former close friends prepare to cross paths during this week&aposs Australian Open at The Lakes. “I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn&apost need it – golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to,” Norman said on Monday. “It&aposs been sad for the game of golf.” Norman, who once employed Williams, defended the New Zealander amid accusations his comments were racially motivated. The two-time major winner believes Williams was ignorant and naive rather than malicious. “It was like any of us sitting around a bar with 10 or 15 of your mates,” Norman explained. “You might say a few things that you only say to your friends.” “Steve was under the belief that he was in a controlled environment but unfortunately that&aposs not the case in this world nowadays.” “Steve&aposs not a racist (but) his stupid comment became global news.” Norman doesn&apost believe Woods or Australian Adam Scott, for whom Williams now works, will be affected by the controversy. Nor does he think Scott should buckle to the mounting pressure and sack Williams. “As players we put up with a lot around the world,” Norman said. “These outside agencies, are they a distraction? They might be on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – I don&apost think they are a distraction on Thursday.” “We hear things you don&apost want to hear but when you walk on that first tee, your number one goal is to go out there and perform the best you possibly can.” “I think Tiger&aposs that way. He&aposs a consummate professional and a very strong-minded and dedicated golfer.” “I don&apost see him having problems with it at all and it won&apost affect Adam.” Australian Open officials will ensure Woods and Williams are kept away from each other by avoiding pairing the American with Scott. But they may come in contact the following week when Woods lines-up for the US against the International team at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Norman, who is captain of the Internationals, said: “He&aposll (Woods) walk past Steve and who knows what happens.” “That moment will come and I&aposm sure he&aposs prepared himself in his mind just as much as Steve has prepared himself in his mind.” “If it plays out next week where Adam does play Tiger, I&aposm sure both Adam and Tiger will do their job and try to win the point for their respective captains and teams and shake hands at the end of the day.”