PGA Tour

Former teen star becomes 1st openly gay male pro golfer

2018-09-14 06:30
Tadd Fujikawa
Tadd Fujikawa (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Tadd Fujikawa, the youngest American to make the cut in a PGA Tour event, became the first openly gay male professional golfer, making the revelation in an Instagram post.

The 27-year-old from Honolulu said he had been pondering about going public for some time before telling the world he is gay.

"I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows," Fujikawa wrote.

"But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was.

"I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. 

"Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life."

Fujikawa made the cut in his hometown PGA event, the Sony Open in Hawaii, in 2006 as a 16-year-old amateur, shooting 66 in the second and third rounds on his way to sharing 20th.

Only China's 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, who was 58th at the 2013 Masters, and 15-year-old Canadian Bob Panasik, who shared 66th at the 1957 Canadian Open, made a PGA cut while younger than Fujikawa.

Fujikawa has competed in 17 PGA events, the most recent of them last year as a Sony Open qualifier. He played five pro events last year in Canada and last year captured the Hawaii State Open, his first pro victory in seven years.

Fujikawa said he wanted to champion acceptance for gay children, teens and adults in society, saying, "I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. We must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be.

"It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations. Let's do our part to make this world a better place."

Fujikawa played his only major at the 2006 US Open at age 15, missing the cut. In 2009, he fired a third-round 62 at the Sony Open before finishing 32nd.

Fujikawa's full statement:

"I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality," he said on Instagram.

"I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much others' stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.

"I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say.

"I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place.

"Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life.

"Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are.

"Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality.

"Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be.

"It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations.

"I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you...spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place."

View this post on Instagram

*PLEASE READ* Coincidentally, today is world suicide prevention day. However, I was going to share this regardless. So...I'm gay. Many of you may have already known that.?? I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another. I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life. Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations. I don't want this to be focused on me. I just want to spread love and acceptance to others who are in a similar situation. If anyone out there is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH...AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!?? I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you...spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.???‍????????????

A post shared by Tadd Fujikawa (@taddy808) on

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