Swede rounds up Tiger's help for bullied pupil
AFP/The Local · 13 May 2015, 09:57
Published: 13 May 2015 09:57 GMT+02:00
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When Dillon, 10, quit his high school football team after being teased and bullied, his mother wrote to Swedish LPGA tour player Sophie Gustafson, who has had to cope with a stutter throughout her career, saying she had only just prevented him jumping to his death from his bedroom window last month.
Gustafson shared the letter, which also mentioned that Dillon was a fan of Woods, with Golf Digest who printed it last week.
"He continues to love to watch golf and is still a fan of Tiger. Is there any way we could get his story to Tiger and see if he could help find something encouraging for [Dillon] to look forward to?" wrote the schoolboy's desperate mum.
Just days later, the top golfer answered her plea, writing a personal message of support to the youngster. In the letter, also published by Golf Digest magazine on Tuesday, Woods revealed he too had suffered a speech impediment and gave the boy encouragement to overcome bullying.
"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 wrote.
The golfer told Dillon he had to deal with many barriers as a child, such as being the only black player 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."
An overjoyed Dillon told Golf Digest on Tuesday: "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 realize suicide is not the answer."
News of the letter came out just a week after the 14-time major winner endured a high-profile split from girlfriend and US Olympic ski star Lindsey Vonn amid media reports of infidelity by Woods.
Woods famously divorced former Swedish fashion model Elin Nordegren after six years of marriage when it emerged in 2010 that he had had a string of affairs.