Being a winner isn’t just about your performance on the field, it’s also about what you do off of it.
LGPA golfer Sophie Gustafson, who speaks with a stutter, has been mentoring a young teenager named Dillon, who also stutters. Dillon was bullied so much for his stutter that he once tried to commit suicide. The story of their friendship, as reported by Ron Sirak in Golf Digest, caught the attention of 14-time major champ Tiger Woods, who decided to write a letter, below, to the teen.
In his letter, Woods writes about how his own stutter and other obstacles inspired him to work harder:
“I know what’s 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.”
A follow-up story from Golf Digest shares Dillon’s email about Tiger’s letter. Dillon writes in the email:
“On Saturday, I got a letter from Tiger! He told me that he used to stutter too. We are going to frame the letter. We have never seen a golf tournament in person, only on TV. I told my mom that when my leg gets better (he fractured his leg in his suicide attempt) I think that would be a fun thing to do.
“[…] I hope that maybe one other person out there that is also having struggles, will hear my story and realize suicide is not the answer and maybe it can help them. I just acted on impulse and now wish that I hadn’t. I was just tired of feeling small and like I didn’t matter. I know that I do matter with the help of my family and friends like you to support me. So thank you and please thank Ron [Sirak]. You are a really great person.”
No matter how long Woods remains in his latest golf slump, he’s a winner in the eyes of Gustafson and Dillon.
— Sophie Gustafson (@SophieGustafson) May 10, 2015