Woods gives his thoughts on the recent comments made by Steve Williams but refuses to brand him a racist.
By now you’ve all probably heard about the controversy surrounding Steve Williams comments at an “off the record” caddies party awards night. The event is held every year as a laugh and giggle to wrap up the year.
Geoff Ogilvy was in attendance for the event and he remarked it was a very in-house event that most people assumed would be off-the-record. According to Ogilvy, who was speaking at a golf forum held at Bonnie Doon Golf Glub last night, everyone was fair game and there was a lot said that could be considered much worse that what Steve Williams said.
And what did Williams say?
Williams received the tongue-in-cheek prize for best golf celebration of the year for his comments soon after Adam Scott won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational
in August. When asked why he was so animated in his post-round comments he responded: “My aim was to shove it right up that black arsehole.”
I should point out that Ogilvy was not condoning the remarks made by Williams, and ‘off-the-record’ or not, in the locker room or out of it, there is no place for that sort of comment in any sport, in any business, from anyone on the planet.
With this in mind, the line of questioning at this morning’s press conference ahead of The Australian Open, was all about Williams and the effect it had on Woods. Woods was as laid back and as interesting to listen to as I’ve ever heard him.
Here’s some excerpts from the press conference, including some relating to the game of golf which you probably won’t hear reported elsewhere.
On the remarks made by Steve Williams;
Yes actually, we talked this morning, we met face to face and talked about it, talked it through. Obviously it was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledge it now and we’re moving forward.
He did apologise. It was hurtful certainly, but life goes forward.
On how two people who were so close, move so far apart from each other;
I don’t know that one. For me personally it was a tough decision to make to go in a different direction in my personal life, but as far as personally, I don’t know how that could have happened the way it did, but it did and here we are. So as I said, life goes forward, I just keep moving forward.
Asked if Steve Williams is a racist;
No Stevie’s certainly not a racist, there’s no doubt about that. I think it was a comment that shouldn’t have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn’t make.
And how the conversation with Williams ended;
We shook hands.
Then we got to some questions about his golf and whether Woods is feeling grumpy considering his poor form;
I’ve gone through a tough period there, because I was hurt for so long. I had an Achilles injury, a knee injury and obviously I parted ways with my coach and now I’m with Sean, so a lot of different things happened in that time span. Trying to get the practice time, I couldn’t practice, so I’m trying to make changes in my game for Sean, you need time and we haven’t had time. I was looking at it the other day, getting ready for the Bridgestone; we only worked 18 days for the whole year together. That’s not much, because I’ve been hurt for so long. So it’s nice getting ready for the Fries, getting ready for here, that I’ve had time to really dedicate myself to practising.
I’ve been here before, I changed my game in ’97. I just won the Masters by 12 and decided to change my game and it took me two years. Then I didn’t get it until ’99 and I think I had a pretty good run after that. So hopefully this will be very similar.
Asked if he was a golf nerd;
There was some regular, boring responses from Woods. Like when he was asked what we can expect form him this week;
Well, I’m here to try to get a W, just like I am at every event, that hasn’t changed, but I need some work to do before that happens. I’ll take a look at the golf course, figure it out, figure out the game plan and then execute my game plan.
But got our interest back when asked if his more controlled anger has been a conscious thing or not this year;
Not a conscious effort no, but maybe it’s just I’m so used to hitting so many bad shots.
I’m just kidding. I think I’d be a hell of an 18 handicapper. Do you want to take me on? I can get a shot at a hole, that’s cool.
And lastly, when asked for his response to the knockers that Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples should not have picked him for the US Team next week;
I’m grateful that Fred is the captain and not them.
Whoa. Now he’s getting downright cheerful.