MIAMI (Reuters) - Rehabilitation and religion were the two themes Tiger Woods was most open about discussing in his first television interviews Sunday since revelations about his marriage infidelities emerged last November.
Woods has long been connected to Buddhism through his Thai mother and he said his detachment from the religion had been behind his fall from grace.
“Going against your core values, losing sight of it,” he said when asked how he lost control of his life. “I quit meditating, I quit being a Buddhist, and my life changed upside down.
“I felt entitled, which I had never felt before. Consequently, I hurt so many people by my own reckless attitude and behavior.
“I quit doing all the things that my mum and dad had taught me. And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised.”
Although dressed in typically conservative fashion, Woods also wore a thin Buddhist bracelet, which he showed to Golf Channel viewers and said he would be wearing when he returned to golf at the U.S. Masters on April 8.
“It’s Buddhist, it’s for protection and strength and I certainly need that,” he said, adding that he began wearing the bracelet before he went into rehabilitation and that he intends to wear it forever.
Woods raised his religion in his set-piece televised apology last month, though prior to the scandal he rarely mentioned it.
Given a number of celebrities in the U.S. have ‘discovered’ religion at times of crises, Woods may find some skepticism about his readiness to be publicly associated with Buddhism now.
But in an interview with Reuters in March, 2008, where he discussed his family life, the golfer was asked directly if he was a practicing Buddhist.
“I practice meditation — that is something that I do, that my mum taught me over the years. We also have a thing we do every year, where we go to temple together,” he said.
“In the Buddhist religion you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in life and set up the next life.
“It is all about what you do and you get out of it what you put into it. I am always continuing to work.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury