The Buddhist bracelet that provided Tiger with “strength and protection” was missing from the golfer’s wrist at the Australian Masters, according to USA Today. He also wasn’t wearing it at China and Thailand, RadarOnline noted. In his first post-scandal interview with the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman in March, he told her that he’d “absolutely” wear it for the rest of his life. Which begs the question months later — is Tiger no longer Buddhist? Or the better question: Who cares?
Well, from my research of Buddhism, Buddhists would say something like, “It’s okay. Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes.”
Now I’m not sure why Tiger is no longer wearing the reminder bracelet, but he told Tilghman that his life spun out of control because he went against his “core values” and quit being a Buddhist. In subsequent interviews, Tiger mentioned losing sight of the values that his parents taught him, which implied the Buddhist ones that his Thai-born Buddhist mother imparted.
Do I think it’s a big deal that he’s not wearing the Buddhist bracelet? Not really. Maybe it broke.
Interestingly enough, I was flipping through Tiger’s 2001 book, How I Play Golf, and came across pictures of him wearing a similar Buddhist bracelet. The caption says, “At my first Masters in 1995, while still a student at Stanford, I was in for a surprise on the first green.”
This picture appears on page 20 of the book next to chapter 1, “How to Putt.” On pages 22 and 23, there are more photos of Tiger wearing the bracelet, as he demonstrates how to grip the putter.
An arrow on page 23 on the top-right-hand corner points to Tiger’s wrist with the caption, “A bracelet I used to wear, given to me by a Buddhist monk.”
What’s the connection? There isn’t one that I know of, except both were Buddhist. But perhaps there was truth when Tiger said he strayed from his Buddhist values and the bracelet gave him strength during treatment. Either way, it’s been missing from action recently. Now that the worst is over, he must not need special protection anymore?
More important, can Tiger break his winless streak at this week’s made-for-TV charity outing, the Chevron Challenge?
(Top photo: AP/Andrew Brownbill)