New Zealand caddie Steve Williams has cast more aspersions on former boss Tiger Woods, keeping their feud bubbling ahead of the Presidents Cup which tees off today.
In a television interview to air around the world today, Williams, who carried Woods' bag for 13 years until he was sacked in July, questions his former employer's ability to win the five major championships he needs to pass Jack Nicklaus's all-time record of 18 majors.
In the interview, which was recorded before he made a racially insensitive remark about Woods during a caddies' end-of-season function in Shanghai a few weeks ago, Williams says he abhorred the former world No. 1's infidelity, which was exposed by the media at the end of 2009 and led to the end of Woods's marriage.
''I just didn't like having my name associated with it. That sort of activity is not something that I have anything to do with,'' he said.
Williams repeated his earlier claim he had no clue about Woods's infidelity, and would have counselled him had he known.
''I don't agree with that sort of behaviour. I mean, I would have been strongly giving my piece of advice,'' he said.
The caddie also spoke of his shock by Woods's actions: ''I guess I thought I knew him well, and I didn't.''
It is a spicy sideshow to the Presidents Cup, the biggest golf tournament to be played in Australia since it last came to Royal Melbourne in 1998.
Woods and his fellow-American Steve Stricker are paired against Scott, the world No. 7 whose bag will be carried by Williams, and South Korea's KJ Choi today in the last of six foursomes matches.
The pairings were cemented by the opposing captains Greg Norman (International team) and Fred Couples (US). Norman had already asked Scott if he would mind playing against Woods; Scott had no issues.
Woods and Williams met and shook hands in Sydney last week and Williams apologised. Woods has said he is moving forward and will not contribute to the debate, but to say the least, the body language will be interesting as they gather on the first tee around 2pm.
''I think it's great for the tournament,'' Norman said. ''It needed to be done. It played out the way it played out. There wasn't any premeditation by it. I think at the end of the day, the guys in that last group will be the consummate professionals and go out and play the game of golf representing their International team and the US team the way they should do.''
Both teams were happy to get the Woods-Scott meeting over with, since in a teams event, it was virtually inevitable they would play at some point over the next four days, possibly even in singles on Sunday. ''Adam and Tiger are good friends,'' Norman said. ''It's got nothing to do with Adam and Tiger, and the atmosphere that will exist walking onto the first tee will be exactly the same as it would be if none of this took place in the past week.
''Freddie and I, everybody, we want to put this behind us. It's a dead issue as far as we're concerned.''
That wasn't the attitude of leading players, who conceded the Woods-Scott match would dominate day one.
Australia's top-ranked golfer, Jason Day, and American veteran Jim Furyk both agreed the pairing would draw a large crowd.
"Obviously I think that's one of the matches that everyone wanted to see, with what's gone on in the past," Day said.
Furyk described the looming match as "interesting, interesting."
"I think it's probably a pairing that you all have been talking about for two weeks now and it was probably a matter of time before it happened," Furyk said.
Woods, whose world ranking slid to 58th in a year dogged by leg injuries, finished third in the Australian Open last week showing signs of a resurgence. However, Williams said in the interview he doubts that Woods can achieve his aim of overhauling Nicklaus's landmark of 18 major titles.
''Well, if you look at it in the perspective that he has to have a career sort of equal to Phil Mickelson from here on in. Phil is a fantastic player and he has had four majors, the next best number of major championships won besides Tiger in the time frame that Tiger has been playing on the tour, so he [Woods] has to sort of replicate that kind of career down the road here.''
When the pairings were done yesterday, Norman split up the three South Africans as he tried to put a Royal Melbourne-savvy player in each group. He managed this in all but one pairing, that of the South Koreans YE Yang and Kyung-tae Kim. Australians Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley will play together.
- Sydney Morning Herald