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« “A skins game is a skins game. I guess they have certain cheeks they can turn at certain times." | Main | Tiger And Stevie Summit Concluded; Tiger's Assured Stevie's Not A Racist »

Someone Saved Stevie's Career Today

That's Robert Lusetich's take on Tiger's press conference in Sydney. He also explains how the encounter between the former soul mates happened.

Woods walked into the gym at his harborside hotel and there was Williams.

“We talked this morning, we met face to face and talked about it, talked it through,” Woods said. “He did apologize. It was hurtful, certainly, but life goes forward.”

The two finished the conversation by shaking hands, Woods said.

Williams later told me he didn’t want to say any more, though it’s clear he feels he’s been treated unfairly. He appeared on a radio station in his native New Zealand protesting that his comment, made at a supposedly off-the-record caddies dinner held on Friday night in Shanghai, had been “blown out of all proportion.”

Bob Harig also noted how Tiger has learned from recent controversies, refusing to let this one get out of hand.

In Woods' case, he could have let the situation fester, could have made things mighty uncomfortable for the caddie who was on his bag for 13 major championships. How their relationship got to this point is something that Woods could not even answer on Tuesday at The Lakes Golf Club, where the Australian Open begins on Thursday.

"That's a great question. I don't know that one,'' Woods said of the relationship gone sour. "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.''

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Reader Comments (25)

Love the header. Tommy, yutumutch!

Oh, Tiger. You are just the saint. (lots of sarcasm)
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Thanks Dig!
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
I don't think that "Someone Saved Stevie's Career Today" Williams hasn't done anything as horrible to put it in risk.
I prefer to think that some media made this issue “blown out of all proportion.” Polemic sells.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterStevieW
Who'd have thought a koala, Crocodile Duneee, Royal Melbourne, the national flag, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, shrimp on the barbie, beach (Bells?), Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Norman at Augusta (with Chris Evert no less!), Mick Morcom, Freddie & Tiger, Alex Russell, a kangaroo, Peter Thomson, Mike Clayton AND a Fosters could all fit on the one masthead. Tommy - you're a star.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
I am glad that Tiger took the high road. I think if he'd come out and really said something, it would've looked personally bitter and vindictive to many, rather than a statement on racism. The question that was not asked (but I wish had been), was whether he thought the statement was racist.

I wish though that Steve realized that the statement was wrong/stupid, rather than feeling like the victim. And it bothers me that the fact to face meeting didn't come about because Steve (or Adam or someone) realized that he owed Tiger a personal apology and set it up, but instead happened because Tiger went into the gym.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
"You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear"
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterT Money
I am sure there was a lot of behind the scenes negotiations, the meeting in the gym was not a coincidence. TW will get something in return for throwing Steve a rope. I posted earlier; editorial review of William's book perhaps.
Steve Williams: "I don't think you can say anyone in New Zealand is racist?" To anyone familiar with New Zealand this remark is utterly false.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrug
It is hardly a Road to Damascus moment, but Woods should get credit for his response.

I wonder if Shane Warne rubs off on him a little bit. Last year he was great with Warne laughing about their indiscretions.

And this year, he spent some time with Warne in Melbourne before arriving in Sydney.

The two should trade phone numbers and Woods should listen less to his agent.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarky Mark
@S&T, I completely agree with you on that re:book. Wonder if Tiger took a confidentiality agreement to him with that meeting
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
He may or may not have. Probably didn't have one before (who would have thought the semi-literate Williams would be thinking about writing a book? When dod he last read one?). But Williams, who might have "written" a memoir of his Woods years that was more candid than the former boss would have liked, has dealt himself a hell of an editorial handicap. Every criticism of Tiger, however astute, will be parsed for potential racial undertones.

That caddie banquet could cost us some great anecdotes. It could rewrite some history. Pity; in many ways there is no better source than SW for that critical decade or so.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKCMG
You wonder if Valvoline might not drop Stevie, and sign Tiger. Apart from Nike and now Rolex, does Tiger have any sponsors?
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Tiger uses the same gym as the caddies and other hotel guests? Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
Matthew M., I actually had more, but had to tone it down a bit! That's actually Mornington Peninsula, not Bells Beach. You guys down under take care of our mate Geoff while there! I want to hear reports!

Much thanks to the great Neil Crafter for the help with the Mick and Alex photos. Neil, you are a star in the Aussie flag! Clayts too!
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato
@Chuck: EA Sports and some company in Japan that makes a patent medicine/ointment?
On Golf Central last night Alex Micelli confirmed, in detail, that up front instructions at the caddie dinner were that everything was off the record. Alex was at the dinner and said someone there clearly violated the code of ethics in the industry by running with this story. He said it was worrisome to him and he thought it was wrong.

Steve's deal with Valvoline was not going to be renewed even is this brouhaha hadn't happened. Once he left Tiger the exposure fell off a cliff. Well, maybe not! But the exposure Valvoline bargained for fell off a cliff. I'm surprised they didn't have a clause in the contract allowing them to cancel the deal if Steve stopped caddying for Tiger. But clearly they don't.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
I'm sorry but the idea that because it was off the record somebody would feel comfortable enough to make a hurtful race laced comment in a large room full of people is far more worrisome to me. Thankfully, it bothered some people enough that they talked about if afterwards. These things should not stay in the dark. The fact that Miceli can't see the difference between this, and a private off the record chat with a reporter, bothers me as well.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
elf, should Micelli be banned because he thinks the rules were violated and this should have never come to light? Does this make him a racist? This is what Greg Norman said: "I know he probably regrets saying it but I guarantee you in that room on that night there was probably some heavier things said." So sounds like Steve was singled out? Should the tours impanel a committee to investigate anything and everything that was said that night? Myself, I really don't know, just curious what you think. Maybe a top to bottom housecleaning of the industry is in order? Revisit the Kelly Tilghman situation? Which was worse, Kelly's comments, or Steve's?
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
@Del Where did you get Miceli be banned? I find his position disturbing, but it's not racist or discriminatory etc (I could hypothesize that the comments didn't bother him and as to why, and that informs his thoughts on this, but I have no evidence to back that up).

Steve's comments came out, and they brought the sport into disrepute in any sports league in the US that's a punishable behavior.

BTW outside of Steve and Adam nobody in the room has come out and said there were worse things said in that room, the anonymous sources from the room certainly did not feel that way, neither did the MC. There may have been worse profanity (I'm sure), but Racist comments trump profanity 9&8.

As to the Kelly vs Steve issue. I find Steve's comments worse for 2 reasons 1) Steve specifically introduced race into the comment 2) Steve's comments came out of extreme bitterness, Kelly's were clearly an extremely clumsy joke. And btw Kelly was suspended.

Generally speaking I think the past should inform the present and the future, but it should not be an excuse for it, failure to act appropriately in one instance is not a reason to fail to act in the next. Instead you should learn from it, and do better next time.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
elf, Micelli supported Steve's position that the comments were off the record and should have never been reported. Seems like an awful lot of people draw a direct line between Micelli's support of Steve's off-the-record thesis and "condoning racism". And "condoning racism" is certainly a bannable offense, no?

The repute of the sport in no way hinges on anything said by Steve Williams -- period. That's like saying the the US is toast because Jesse Ventura had some nasty things to say.....just ridiculous.

As for "the room", given the present firestorm do you think any sane person is going to go on the record and discuss other things that were said? They'd have to be crazy!

You're probably right about Kelly vs.Steve in terms of intent. But in what is seemingly a zero tolerance situation, does it matter? Shouldn't Kelly "go away" too?

I concur on the learning. If Steve didn't learn something here then ultimately he will go away.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
@Del never said supporting the position that they were off the record was condoning racism. I dislike Micelli's position that the leaking is a bigger deal than the words, or the fact that he thinks they shouldn't have been leaked, but no I don't think he's condoning racism (leaving aside the debate whether condoning racism should be punishable). I don't think off the record excuses the comment though (which is what some seem to be saying).

Can Steve bring the sport down? Duh, no. Did his comments make golf look bad? Yeah they did (and don't say but lots of comments make the sport look bad, their is a diff between comments, and racist, misogynistic etc comments)

And I think you mete out discipline on a scale and case by case basis, and again Kelly was banned for 2 weeks, Steve hasn't even been fined. How does that work?

When you screw up aren't there consequences? and don't those consequences depend on the severity of the offense? To me the severity of Steve's offense required more than a half - hearted (at best) quasi apology.

And the fact that he felt comfortable enough to say it and that people dismissed it as a bad joke, should cause people to pause and examine things.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Hah, true, although a few more years of schooling might have served him well. Speaking of bosses boss (sort of) interesting that titelist hasn't weighed in yet publicly (I know Elling called and got no response).
11.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I guess I just personally have an issue with Williams' tiring attention whoring act in general.

But the guy that his comment was directed towards accepted his apology and has decided to move on. I figure that everyone else should do the same. This is no longer newsworthy stuff.
11.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
It still baffles me that Tiger's sacking of Steve wasn't handled in a way that would not cause future problems for both of them. Obviously the "take a break" phone call was not the way to do it. I bet Tiger would like to rewind that conversation, in hindsight. A long chat, a discussion of the repurcussions, how both would answer questions and none of this would have happened if they had both, subsequently kept their mouths shut.
They both know the media exploits and exaggerates issues because that's what readers want so stories that coincide and keeping mum would have benefitted both of them.
(I think the people who use Valvoline say a lot worse than Steve's epithet.)
Here's how some people handle similar situations:
11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKCMG

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