Controversial caddie Steve Williams will be kept well away from Tiger Woods at the Australian Open in Sydney this week as part of a multi-million-dollar plan from tournament officials to win over the golfing superstar, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported Monday.
The officials have devised an exhaustive five-star checklist, involving accommodation, fine dining, tourism and a fleet of chauffeured limousines, to ensure Woods’ visit to the Harbour City is not his last.
And high on their list of demands is that Woods have no embarrassing encounter with his former caddie Williams, who made headlines over the weekend for making a racial slur against his former employer.
Williams was fired by the American star in July after 13 years together and is now caddie for Australian Adam Scott.
At an awards dinner in Shanghai Friday night, the outspoken New Zealander told the audience that the aim of his over-the-top reaction when Scott won a world championship in August was "to shove it right up that black a**hole."
Williams later issued an apology on his website, while admitting the comments "could be construed as racist."
Asked about the chance of Scott and Woods pairing up at the Australian Open this week, tournament director Tony Roosenburg replied, "No chance. But it has nothing to do with the incident that was spoken about over the weekend. It was never going to happen anyway."
Roosenburg added, "We’ve only got six days but we want to ensure Tiger has the best time possible in Sydney.
"We want to give him an unforgettable stay, show him the city’s attractions and leave him wanting to come back."
Despite attracting international criticism for his most recent comments, the 47-year-old Williams escaped any official sanction despite condemnation from the International Federation of PGA Tours Sunday, Sky Sports reported.
"We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context," European Tour chief George O’Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a joint statement.
But the officials said Williams’ expression of regret had settled the issue.
"We are aware that he has apologized fully, and we trust we will not hear such remarks again," they added.
"Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment."