SHANGHAI - Australia's Adam Scott stood by his caddy Steve Williams in Shanghai on Saturday as golf sought a quick resolution to the controversy surrounding the New Zealander's racist remark about Tiger Woods.
Williams shocked guests at an awards ceremony Friday night with a racist remark aimed at his former employer Tiger Woods.
Williams, who was sacked by Woods in July and hit the headlines the following month with controversial comments following his new employer Adam Scott's win at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, was called on stage at the private function to receive the "Celebration of the Year" award. Asked to talk about his reaction following Scott's win so soon after being fired by Woods, he responded by saying, "My aim at Akron was to shove it right up that black [expletive]"
Williams left the function without making further comment but upon hearing British tabloids had picked up the story issued a clear apology to American Woods on his website.
"I apologize for comments I made last night at the Annual Caddy Awards dinner in Shanghai. Players and caddies look forward to this evening all year and the spirit is always joking and fun. I now realize how my comments could be construed as racist. However I assure you that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to Tiger and anyone else I have offended."
Williams' comments were first reported by Oliver Brown of the Telegraph.
Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg, called the comments "regrettable".
"I was with Tiger when the story broke. We were obviously not there, but if all the reports are accurate, it is regrettable. Really nothing more to say," Steinberg said.
Woods is not playing this week in China but he is scheduled to play in next week's Australian Open, where Scott will also be a participant. The pair are also going to be on opposing teams the following week at the Presidents Cup.
After shooting a 69 on Saturday to sit three shots behind leader Fredrik Jacobson, Scott resisted calls to fire the man he hired in August after Williams had parted company with long-time employer Woods.
"Steve issued a statement and apologised and did the right thing," Scott told reporters.
"That's all there is to say about that from my side of things. He did the right thing and its not an issue for me.
"I disagree that he should be sacked. I think everything in that room last night was all in good spirits and bit of fun and I think it probably got taken out of that room in the wrong context.
"Look, anything with Tiger involved is a story, but I value Steve's contribution to my game and while he is caddying I hope he can caddy for me."
Scott also refused to believe Williams could be considered a racist, adding: "I think we all know that's not the case."
Williams will also escape punishment from the International Federation of PGA Tours, who organised this week's event.
Press officer Michele Mair said: "This was a private function. There will not be any further comment on this matter."
In August, Williams apologized after describing Australian Scott's victory in Akron, Ohio as the most satisfying of his career, despite having previously won 13 majors in tandem with Woods.
"It's the most satisfying win I've ever had, there's no two ways about it," Williams had told reporters. "It's the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that."
Files from Reuters and the Associated Press were used in this report