Tiger Woods and another media-driven quest for generic public and personal redemption

Tiger Woods and another media-driven quest for generic public and personal redemption

Please pause, for a moment, from reading the torrent of tweets in your news "covfefe" feed. I would like you to flash back to one of the more interesting -- poignant even -- angles of the first great Tiger Woods private life crisis (1.0).

Forget the endless tabloid covers about his apparent addictions to adultery with busty blondes (we are not talking about the stunningly beautiful mother of his children). Forget the double-talk on covertly recorded cellphones.

This is GetReligion. We are talking about a fascinating and valid religion angle, one linked to Wood's unique multi-racial and multicultural background. Here is a glimpse of that, care of a 2010 Tiger crisis feature in The Christian Science Monitor. The overture said:

LONDON -- Much has been made of the fact that, in his mea culpa beamed around the world, Tiger Woods said he had rediscovered his childhood religion of Buddhism and hoped to relearn its lessons of restraint. This was Tiger’s “leap of faith,” said Newsweek, his very public religious conversion.
It is true that we witnessed the conversion of Tiger Woods last Friday, but it was no voluntary conversion to an old religion. Rather, this was a forced conversion to the new Oprahite religion of emotional openness and making public one’s miseries and failings.

Note that, even with Woods make explicit comments about how he drifted away from the practice of Buddhism, journalists already were picking up on the fact that something else was going on. In terms of a public-relations campaign to "redeem" -- "resurrect" was another popular word) his career -- it was clear that Woods needed to perform some kind of pop-culture penance to show he was starting over.

It was a rare appearance of a kind of Oprah-fied born-again Buddhism. The stories never probed the depths of what that might look like in terms of daily life.

Now we have Tiger Woods crisis 2.0, with that horrible DUI mug shot and, I am sure, embarrassing video clips to come.

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Yo, New York Times sports team: Bubba Watson isn't afraid to discuss the 'ghost' in his life

Yo, New York Times sports team: Bubba Watson isn't afraid to discuss the 'ghost' in his life

Anyone who follows professional golf knows that Bubba Watson's face is an open book when it comes to joy, sorrow, stress, elation, the whole works. His tear ducts work just fine.

There are reasons for this, of course, and Watson doesn't mind talking about them. At the top of the list is his family and his faith.

Thus, I kind of expected the "On Golf" feature that ran the other day at The New York Times -- "Bubba Watson, a Candid and Sensitive Champion, Shows His Vulnerable Side" -- to deal with these spiritual issues. I mean, after all, the article was very clear that the goal was to get inside this unique personality and find out why he is the man he is. For example, early on, readers are told:

Watson is good company and better copy. Anyone inclined to give him a wide berth must have a pretty narrow view of what makes for interesting conversation. Unfailingly honest and unshakably human, Watson, 37, held a news conference after his victory at the Northern Trust Open that unfurled like an Erhard Seminars Training session.
It was more than 30 minutes of public therapy, during which Watson talked about how he dreads the day when he’ll tell his two small children they’re adopted, the tightrope he walks being a performer with social anxiety -- and, oh, yeah, how the long par putt he drained on 10 at Riviera Country Club on Sunday was the key to his ninth P.G.A. Tour victory since 2010.

At one point, Watson just came right out and admitted that he tends to win, whenever "my head’s in the right spot.”

Right, and then he struggles when his head is not in the right spot. What's the larger point here?

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