Pros advice

Tiger Woods writes heart-warming letter to bullied boy with stutter


A boy who was bullied so severely because of his stutter has received encouragement from someone else who once struggled with his speech – 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

The story came about after eight-time Solheim Cup player Sophie Gustafson of Sweden held an interview with Golf Digest and explained that she had played her entire career on the LPGA and in Europe with a severe stuttering problem.

After Gustafson shared her story, another one emerged, this time from a mother whose son Dillon had been so affected by his stuttering that he’d even contemplated suicide. Gustafson handed the letter to Golf Digest who published the story on their website on April 30.

The mother said her son had 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. Also in the letter was stated that the boy was a huge Tiger Woods fan and watched golf regularly.

Not long after the letter was published on the website did the boy receive a letter from Tiger himself – which Gustafson tweeted to the world on Sunday, adding her thanks for Woods ‘for sending my friend Dillon a letter. He got so happy! It’s being framed and hanged.’ She added a hashtag that simply said ‘class.’

In the letter, which was published on Tuesday, Woods explains how hard he found life while growing up with a stutter, but assured the boy would find the ability to overcome him problems and achieve his goals.

“I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in,” Woods wrote. “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 added in the letter that he had been younger than most kids he played and was often the only minority on 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.”

Dillon told Golf Digest: "On Saturday, I got a letter from Tiger! He told me that he used to stutter too.

"I hope that maybe one other person out there that is also having struggles, will hear my story and realise suicide is not the answer."


Tiger’s letter in full:


Dear Dillon,

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.

Sincerely yours,

Tiger Woods


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