Tadd Fujikawa was a familiar name in the mid-2000s as the teen making history on the golf course. At 15, Fujikawa qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open, and the following year he became the youngest player in half a century to make the cut in a PGA Tour event, finishing T-20 at the 2007 Sony Open. Fast forward to the fall of 2018, and Fujikawa’s name was surfaced again, but this time for something he did off the course. Actually, for something he did on Instagram.
It was on the social media platform where Fujikawa made his sexuality public and became the first openly gay male professional golfer. Two weeks after his announcement, one of our editors sat down with Fujikawa to talk to him about what led him to come out when he did, and the anxiety and depression he struggled with before going public. And now, in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, Skratch has made a video about Fujikawa and his life since making that big decision. Have a look:
In the video, Fujikawa says that when he publicly announced his sexuality, he had no idea that he was the first openly gay male professional golfer. He talks about what it was like being so successful at a young age, and then to find himself struggling on the course. (Since turning pro in 2007, he has played less than 15 PGA Tour events). The combination of losing his golf game and keeping a secret about his sexuality led to extreme depression and anxiety. Finally, he says in the video, he hit a point where it pushed him to do something about it, leading him to write the Instagram post.
Fujikawa says that the response has been positive, with over 1,000 messages coming in from people who are struggling with their own sexuality. He's heard from friends as well as professional golfers supporting him—even some he’s never met.
As Tadd said in the Golf Digest piece that ran last fall, him telling the world about his sexuality was not about himself, but about helping other people.
“I decided to go public with my sexuality so that others like me won't feel alone," he said in the piece. "My purpose in life is more than golf. Golf is a huge part of it, but what drives me is my passion to change lives, and I want to empower people to be their best. I've seen other athletes, celebrities and my friends come out with their stories, and that gave me hope.”