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Tiger Helps a Stuttering Teen

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Love him or hate him, this was a classy move on Tiger's part...

 

 

Tiger Woods writes letter to high school boy with stuttering problem

 

WILTON, Conn. -- A boy who was bullied for stuttering received strong encouragement from someone else who once struggled with his speech -- Tiger Woods.

 

Golf Digest published the letter from Woods on its website Tuesday.

 

"I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in," Woods wrote in the letter. "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."

 

The plight of the high school boy, identified only as Dillon, was publicized when his mother reached out to eight-time Solheim Cup player Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, who played her entire career on the LPGA and in Europe with a severe stuttering problem.

 

Gustafson shared the mother's letter with Golf Digest, which published a story on its website April 30.

 

The mother said her son tried out for the football team only to quit because of the constant teasing about his stutter. She wrote that he was on the verge of leaping from his bedroom window on April 16 until his parents stopped him.

 

The mother's letter to Gustafson also mentioned that her son watched golf and was a fan of Woods.

 

Not long after Golf Digest posted the story on its website, the boy received a letter from the 14-time major champion. Gustafson tweeted on Sunday her thanks to Woods "for sending my friend Dillon a letter. He got so happy! It's being framed and hanged." She added a hashtag that said "class."

 

Woods said in the letter that he was younger than most kids he played and often was the only minority in the field.

 

"But I didn't let that stop me, and I think it even inspired me to work harder," he wrote. "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."

 


 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
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And here's the rest of the story - courtesy of Ron Sirak at Golf Digest.  

 

 

Former stutterer Tiger Woods writes letter to young boy  being bullied

By Ron Sirak

This is a story that writes itself. All I have to do is brush away the tears and type.

 

Let me start by saying thank you to Sophie Gustafson and Tiger Woods for having kind hearts.
 

And let me follow that with a word of admiration for my new friend Dillon who, like Sophie, struggles with a stutter and, being a teenager, the hurtful taunts of classmates who bullied him.
 

A week ago Sophie, who has been mentoring Dillon, told me the cruelty of other children had driven Dillon to attempting suicide. I wrote that story, not using Dillon's name at the time, and mentioned that he is a huge Tiger Woods fan.
 

Related: Gustafson takes a stand against bullying
 

Immediately I heard from the Woods camp asking for the boy's address. Then, on Sunday, I got this text message from Sophie:
 

"Tiger sent Dillon a letter and told him he also stuttered when he was younger," Sophie wrote. "He's ecstatic. We did good Ron."

 

 

 

Sophie did good. Tiger did good. I did my job. I gather information and tell stories.
 

And this story needed to be told. Bullying of people -- children and adults -- who are different in any way is a serious problem that must be addressed. Here's Tiger's letter:
 

blog-tiger-letter-0512.jpg

That Tiger responded so quickly was the act of not only someone who knew taunting when he was a child -- both because of his stutter and his race -- but it was also the act of a father of two who understands how we need to protect our children.
 

"It was real class to get that out so fast," Sophie said about Tiger sending the letter immediately.
 

She got that right.
 

And you want to hear about some more class -- and maybe shed a tear or two? Let me share with you the email from Dillon:
 

"Thank you for having your friend share my story. Please thank him for me. I really appreciate all the support and help you are giving me. My mom and I saw all the support on twitter. I know that I have a lot of support thru this challenging time. I just want to fit in. I just want to find true friends who will accept me and not make fun of me when I talk. It gets so frustrating when you have things to say and people just don't give you a chance to get it out."
 

Then Dillon added this:
 

"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."
 

And then, showing that he gets that this story is bigger than just him, Dillon said:
 

"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. You are a really great person."
 

Related: How Gustafson overcame her stutter
 

Later we received an email from Dillon's mother.
 

"Dillon has made copies of the story and passed it out at his Day Treatment program, hoping that it will help another kid," Angie wrote. "I honestly can say, that there are no words that I could ever use to thank you Sophie."
 

Let me try these words:
 

Thanks Tiger and Sophie for showing the true heart of golf. Thanks Angie for being a great Mom. And thanks Dillon for not only being brave, but also acting as a leader of others in your situation.
 

And thanks to all of you out there who responded in such a positive way in such overwhelming numbers to let Dillon -- and others like him -- know they are not alone. Bullying is a battle we can win.

 


 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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Wow, my impression of Tiger just went up a notch or two.

 

Kids can be so mean to each other. And some people never grow out of that unfortunately. It's hard for a kid to understand that the person being a bully is making themself a smaller person even if he seems to be popular. It can be tough growing up.....

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Wow! One in a row for Eldrick. Love hearing stories when celebrities act like normal people and go out of their way to touch someone else. 

 

Nowadays people don't respect one another. I'm in my early 30's and can already feel how the world has changed, can't even imagine what my 93 year old grandfather thinks of people today. I'm sure he's disgusted. The selfishness, laziness, lack of respect, and entitlement is just a joke. Sorry for the rant, but have had a few experiences lately that have me feeling like a cynic. 

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