HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In an Instagram announcement on Sept. 10, Tadd Fujikawa said he’s gay.
He’s the first men’s professional golfer to come out.
“Hopefully, in the long run, it makes a big impact on the game and it can help to grow the game,” he said.
Tadd said his public admission ended an internal tug-of-war.
"It was pretty difficult bouncing back and forth with who I am and what is 'right,'" he said.
He is pleased the golf world is reacting positively, with some top players congratulating him for being honest and courageous.
"From the PGA to Champions Tour to LPGA, they've all been very supportive," he said.
Tadd's statement came a year after he shared his struggles with depression and anxiety.
"That really definitely had a big impact on my depression and anxiety," he said. "When I was in the closet and not really open about it that really played a big part in it."
His Instagram post drew a few negative comments from people who criticized him for not keeping his sexuality private. He said he spoke out to encourage others in the gay community.
"The reason why it matters is because people are still taking their lives. People are still being discriminated against for being this way," he said.
Tadd said his sexual orientation wasn’t a secret to people closest to him and his family’s attitude hasn’t changed.
"They love me for who I am," he said.
Tadd is now 27.
At 16 he was the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open. But he’s struggled as a pro.
He said his declaration took a weight off his shoulders.
“I don’t know if it’s going to help my golf, but I’m sure it definitely won’t hurt it,” he said.
Tadd believes his words have started a necessary discussion within his sport.
"Golf is not the most progressive sport out there," he said.
He hopes his actions lead other gay golfers to follow his lead.