Jacobson keeps lead at HSBC Champions Golf
05 Nov 2011 - 15:46:56
Fredrik Jacobson shot a five-under-par 67 Saturday to lead going into the final day of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, which has been overshadowed by a racist outburst by Tiger Woods' former caddy.
In-form Swede Jacobson is two shots ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen, who is on 14-under 202 after carding an impressive 68 in the seven-million-dollar showpiece.
But much of the focus at the Sheshan International Golf Club was on third-placed Australian Adam Scott and his caddy Steve Williams.
New Zealander Williams sparked the racism row by calling his former employer Woods a "black arsehole" during an annual caddies' award dinner on Friday night.
The veteran caddy was then forced to start an important day for his new boss Scott by issuing an apology to his former paymaster Woods, admitting his outburst "could be construed as racist."
Back on the course, England's world number two Lee Westwood and world number three Rory McIlroy stormed up the table to enter the last day lurking ominously in joint fourth.
Germany's Martin Kaymer and McIlroy's Northern Irish compatriot Graeme McDowell are five shots off the leader.
Jacobson, who finished third at last week's CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, putted a hat-trick of birdies on the front nine before carding his first bogey since round one.
He refused to comment at length on the scandal involving Williams.
"I don't really know what is going on and I don't think it is really my business either," he said.
Williams made the extraordinary outburst when asked on stage about his controversial celebrations following a victory by Scott at the Bridgestone Invitational in August.
Williams, who was sacked by Woods in July after being at the former world number one's side for 13 of his 14 major championship titles and Woods' subsequent downfall, described Scott's victory as the "best win of my career".
Addressing the room after being handed a tongue-in cheek "celebration of the year" gong, Williams shocked players, fellow caddies and sponsors by saying: "It was my aim to shove it right up that black arsehole (Woods)."
His new employer Scott defiantly stood by his caddy.
"It's not an issue for me. Steve issued a statement and apologised and I think that is all there to say about it and he did the right thing," he said.
But Williams has caused anger among fellow caddies and others in the golfing world who are calling on the player to sack the Kiwi, who has a track record of courting controversy.
"I disagree that he should be sacked," said Scott.
"I have not spoken to him about it. I thought the whole evening was in jest and fun.
"Everything in that room last night was all in good spirits and for a bit of fun. I think it got taken out of the room in the wrong context."
Williams issued an apology on his kiwicaddy.co.nz website just before heading out on to the first tee Saturday morning as the scandal took over from the action on the greens.
"I apologise for comments I made last night," he said in the statement.
"I now realise how my comments could be construed as racist. However I assure you that was not my intent. I sincerely apologise to Tiger and anyone else I have offended."
The sanctioning tours of China's flagship golfing tournament refused to make an official comment.
A source from one of the tours told AFP: "It's going to be difficult for Adam Scott if sponsors think he has a racist carrying his bag."
Williams avoided the media as he entered the clubhouse with Scott, and he shook his head in mock disbelief and laughed to himself as he walked quickly past reporters as the player answered questions.
"I would hope my sponsors will not take a negative view against me. I have done nothing wrong," added Scott.