Category: Golf Life
As one of the world’s most famous golfers, Tiger Woods has always been at the heart of the golfing world, even though in recent years he has suffered injury setbacks and an incredible fall in the world rankings.
But Woods, born Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods has just an interesting cultural background as golf career. But just as with his demise in golf Woods has been criticised about his “failure” to recognise his cultural heritage both as a black American and a Thai.
Having been born in Cypress California on December 30th 1975 to parents Earl and Kultida, Woods describes his ethnicity as “Cablinasian” a synonym for Caucasian, Black, American Indian and Asian due to the mix of races from both his father’s side and his mother´s Thai heritage.
The influence and presence of father Earl has always been at the forefront of Woods success and much has been attributed to his father’s disciplinarian ways, but Woods made light of his “religious” beliefs as his world began crashing down around him.
The prominence of Kultida´s spiritual and religious influences shone through in Woods in his darkest hour, as he was caught cheating on then wife Elin. It was during this time that Woods admitted he was raised as a Buddhist, the national religion of Thailand.
Woods as a 9-year-old child visited Thailand for the first time with his mother and was exposed to the culture and religion of his mother’s birth land.
It was during this educational trip that his mother asked for a Buddhist monk to have a look at a chart of Woods young life. The monk told Kutlida that Tiger would become a great leader and that he was a special child.
Woods seeming lack of admission to his cultural heritage is somewhat naïve because he never really likes to talk about it. But his beliefs and connection to his mother’s Thai background has always been on show. It is no coincidence that Woods famously wears red on the final day of tournaments.
Red in Thai culture is the colour to be worn on Sunday and is seen as a good luck charm. Couple this with his mother´s belief that red is Tigers “power colour” it is not a surprise that Woods has not deviated from his Sunday attire.
In the 21st century Woods has only visited the country on a couple of occasions, but during these “business” trips he has made quite the impression on the natives, with sports fans regarding Woods as one of their own and the powers that be, having been granted permission to visit the ailing King in hospital, although he never actually met the King and the then Prime Minister.
In 2010 Woods returned to Thailand for the first time in 10 years to compete in a skins challenge, along with Englishman Paul Casey, Columbian Camillo Villagas and home grown star Thongchai Jaidee.
Woods ties with Thailand are weak, but his connections with his cultural background are bound strongly with that of the traditional Thai life.
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