Greg Norman insisted yesterday that his one-time caddy Steve Williams is not racist as the New Zealander's slur about former boss Tiger Woods threatened to overshadow this week's Australian Open.

Greg Norman

Williams, who was Woods' caddy for 13 of his 14 Major titles before being sacked earlier this year, referred to the former world number one as a "black a*******" during an awards dinner on Friday night in Shanghai.

Tiger Woods and Steve Williams in happier times. Pic/Getty Images

His remarks were widely condemned but his current employer, Australian Adam Scott, has refused to fire him and Williams is set to carry his bag at this week's event in Sydney.

Norman, who is also playing in Sydney, said: "Steve's not a racist. We've all made stupid comments at stupid times. Unfortunately his stupid comment became global news. I know he probably regrets saying it."