Tiger Woods recently wrote a letter to a high-school boy named Dillon, who has been bullied by his classmates because of his stuttering problem. In fact, Dillon had been treated so cruelly that he had attempted suicide.
Former LPGA player Sophie Gustafson, who herself has publicly dealt with a severe stutter for decades and has been mentoring Dillon, reached out to Golf Digest writer and friend Ron Sirak for some help. Dillon is fan of golf, she explained, and, as Dillon’s mother said in a message to Gustafson, loves watching Tiger Woods play.
Gustafson figured some kind of communication from Woods would really lift Dillon’s spirits. Sirak, as he wrote Tuesday, reached out to Woods’ camp and they responded wanting to know Dillon’s mailing address. Within that week, Woods had penned a letter and sent it to Dillon.
Here’s the full text:
Someone told me that you like watching me play golf. I really appreciate that, and I also want to say how proud I am of you.
I know what it’s like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep. I also took a class for two years to help me, and I finally learned to stop.
I was younger than most of the kids I competed against and often I was the only minority player in the field. But, I didn’t let that stop me, and I think it even inspired me to work harder. I know you can do that too.
You have a great family, and big fans like me on your side.
Be well and keep fighting. I’m certain you’ll be great at anything you do.
Dillon, who is recovering from a leg fracture related to his suicide attempt, hopes to see Woods as his first live pro tournament when he leg heals.