Norman defends Williams over Woods gaffe

By Associated PressNovember 7, 2011, 11:40 am

SYDNEY – Greg Noman has defended caddie Steve Williams over his Tiger Woods comments, saying the comments were “stupid” but that he doesn’t believe Williams is racist.

Norman, speaking Monday at The Lakes, where he’ll begin the Australian Open on Thursday, also said Williams’ current employer Adam Scott should ignore calls to release him. Scott later issued a statement reiterating he will stand by Williams, and saying that he considers the issue closed.

At a caddies’ awards party Friday in Shanghai, Williams talked about a television interview he gave following Scott’s win at the Bridgestone

“We’ve all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news,” 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.”

Norman, who had Williams on his bag for several years in the 1980s, replied “no, not at all,” when asked Monday if Williams was racist.

Scott said in a statement later Monday that he believes “there is absolutely no room for racial discrimination in any walk of life, including the game of golf.”

“I have discussed this matter directly with Steve and he understands and supports my view on this subject. I also accept Steve’s apology, knowing that he meant no racial slur with his comments. I now consider the matter closed. I will not be making any further comment.”

Woods and Scott are also playing in the Australian Open, which has attracted a strong field due to the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next week.

Norman disagreed with the notion of pairing Woods and Scott together this week in Sydney for the first two rounds of the Australian Open. It was also suggested to Norman, the captain of the International side for the Presidents Cup, that he might send Scott out against Woods in the team event in Melbourne.

“Everybody wants me to pair Adam and Tiger next week, right, and I’m sure there was a question about pairing Adam and Tiger this week,” Norman said. “Of course, everybody wants to see it. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do from a promotional aspect, No. 1, because it should just be an automatic draw.

“I don’t think there is any issue between Tiger and Adam at all.”

Norman said any feud between Woods and Williams needs to be sorted out.

“Because of the temperature that was going on between the two of them, anything that is said or not said is going to exacerbate whatever that feeling is,” Norman said.

“I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn’t need it. Golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to. Golf needs the cohesiveness that’s always existed.

“There’s always been underlying currents, not everybody loves everybody and the people who dislike each other; we just have a tendency of parting our ways and not seeing each other. But to have it play out like it’s played out has been a bit sad for the game.”

Norman, asked if golf has a problem with racism, said: “No, not at all; never seen it; never seen it at all.”

Woods was in Melbourne on Monday at a corporate day. It’s the city where he last won a tournament: the Australian Masters in November 2009.

Weeks later, news of his infidelities surfaced, followed by a divorce, injuries and swing changes.

On Monday, Woods told a Melbourne radio station that he’s seeing a gradual improvement in his game. The radio interviewers were warned not to ask any questions about Williams.

“I’ve had a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), I’ve had a broken leg, a torn Achilles, and strained ligaments over the last five years,” Woods said. “I’ve been rehabbing for so long I haven’t been able to train. I’m hitting faster, more explosive, my speed’s come back. I’m hitting the ball distances I know I can hit the golf ball again. It’s getting fun.”

Woods played with cricket great Shane Warne, Warne’s fiancee Liz Hurley and billionaire businessman James Packer at the private Capital Golf Club.

Woods flew back to Sydney later Monday. He’ll conduct a media conference at The Lakes on Tuesday morning where he’s expected to comment directly for the first time on Williams’s remarks.


- Watch all four rounds of the Australian Open live on Golf Channel Wednesday-Saturday from 8PM-1AM ET.

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, but he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise shrugged off any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

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Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”

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Spieth admits '16 Masters 'kind of haunted me'

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:38 pm

Two years ago, Jordan Spieth arrived at Colonial Country Club and promptly exorcised some demons.

He was only a month removed from blowing the 2016 Masters, turning a five-shot lead with nine holes to play into a shocking runner-up finish behind Danny Willett. Still with lingering questions buzzing about his ability to close, he finished with a back-nine 30 on Sunday, including birdies on Nos. 16-18, to seal his first win since his Augusta National debacle.

Returning this week to the Fort Worth Invitational, Spieth was asked about the highs and lows he's already experienced in his five-year pro career and candidly pointed to the 2016 Masters as a "low point" that had a lingering effect.

"Even though it was still a tremendous week and still was a really good year in 2016, that kind of haunted me and all the questioning and everything," Spieth told reporters. "I let it tear me down a little bit. I kind of lost a little bit of my own freedom, thoughts on who I am as a person and as a golfer."


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Spieth went on to win the Australian Open in the fall of 2016, and last year he added three more victories including a third major title at Royal Birkdale. Given more than two years to reflect - and after nearly nabbing a second green jacket last month - he admitted that the trials and tribulations of 2016 had a lasting impact on how he perceives the daily grind on Tour.

"I guess to sum it up, I've just tried to really be selfish in the way that I think and focus on being as happy as I possibly can playing the game I love. Not getting caught up in the noise, good or bad," Spieth said. "Because what I hear from the outside, the highs are too high from the outside and the lows are too low from the outside from my real experience of them. So trying to stay pretty neutral and just look at the big picture things, and try and wake up every single day loving what I do."

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Spieth offers Owen advice ahead of Web.com debut

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:22 pm

As country music sensation Jake Owen gets set to make his Web.com Tour debut, Jordan Spieth had a few pieces of advice for his former pro-am partner.

Owen played as a 1-handicap alongside Spieth at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and this week he is playing his own ball on a sponsor invite at the Nashville Open. Owen joked with a Web.com Tour reporter that Spieth "shined" him by not answering his text earlier in the week, but Spieth explained to reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the two have since connected.

"We texted a bit yesterday. I was just asking how things were going," Spieth said. "I kind of asked him the state of his game. He said he's been practicing a lot. He said the course is really hard. I mean, going into it with that mindset, maybe he'll kind of play more conservative."

Owen is in the field this week on the same type of unrestricted sponsor exemption that NBA superstar Steph Curry used at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic in August. As Owen gets set to make his debut against a field full of professionals, Spieth noted that it might be for the best that he's focused on a tournament a few hundred miles away instead of walking alongside the singer as he does each year on the Monterey Peninsula.

"Fortunately I'm not there with him, because whenever I'm his partner I'm telling him to hit driver everywhere, even though he's talented enough to play the golf course the way it needs to be played," Spieth said. "So I think he'll get some knowledge on the golf course and play it a little better than he plays Pebble Beach. He's certainly got the talent to be able to shoot a good round."