Tiger Woods reveals he, too, had a childhood stutter and explains how he overcame it
Tiger Woods has written to comfort a boy who tried to commit suicide after being worn down by bullying over his stutter.
Woods heard about the boy, named Dillon, after the boy’s mother had written to LPGA tour player Sophie Gustafson, who has a stutter.
In the letter Dillon’s mother had said that Dillon was a fan of Woods and asked “Is there anyway we could get his story to Tiger and see if he could help?”
Gustafson contacted American golf journalist Ron Sirak who said he could contact Woods.
In his letter to Dillon, Tiger Woods wrote: “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.”
Woods had previously spoken about his childhood stutter in an interview with the television programme 60 Minutes. “The words got lost, you know, somewhere between the brain and the mouth. And it was very difficult, but I fought through it. I went to a school to try and get over that, and I just would work my tail off.”
Swede Sophie Gustafson when once asked what her message would be to children who stutter, replied: “I would tell them do what you want to do. Granted, phone salesman might not be the job for you, but go out and do what you want to do. Don’t let other people tell you what you can and can’t do.”
Dillon, who has a broken leg from his suicide attempt, later emailed Ron Sirak: “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 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.”
Tiger Woods’ letter to bullied stutterer Dillon:
“Someone told me that you like watching me play golf. I really appreciate that, and I also wanted 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’s 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.”