Tiger Woods will not be paired with Adam Scott and former caddie Steve Williams at this week's Australian Open after all.
Woods is making his first Australian Open appearance as he builds up to the Presidents Cup, which takes place in Melbourne next week. He and local favorite Scott are undoubtedly the two marquee attractions for the Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney beginning on Thursday.
The Australian Open, first staged in 1904, is Australia's most prestigious golf tournament. Geoff Ogilvy is the defending champion.
However, tournament organizers confirmed Monday that the two stars won’t be paired together for the first two rounds as has been widely reported. Their decision, they said, was not taken on the back of the row caused by Williams' recent racial slur against Woods.
"It has nothing to do with the incident that was spoken about over the weekend," explained Tournament Director Tony Roosenburg. "It was never going to happen anyway. No chance."
Williams -- with whom Woods won 13 majors before terminating their relationship earlier this year -- made his inflammatory comment at the annual caddies' award dinner on Friday at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Williams has been widely condemned but, following an apology from the caddie, Scott has refused to sack him and he will remain on Scott’s bag.
That decision has received the backing of Scott's compatriot and former world No. 1 Greg Norman.
Williams spent time on the Great White Shark’s bag during his stellar career and Norman -- who will captain the International team at the Presidents Cup -- says Scott should not be judged for the incident.
"Adam's a professional," stated Norman. "Whatever Steve's said was Steve's opinion, not Adam's.
"Steve obviously does a great job for Adam because Adam's been playing some great golf since Steve's been on his bag," Norman added. "I don't think there's any issue between Tiger and Adam at all."
"I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn't need it," he said. "Golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to."