Tadd Fujikawa is in the winner’s circle again. Is that a sentence you thought you would never read? If so, don’t worry … Fujikawa was kind of right there with you.
The 26-year-old captured the Hawaii State Open on Sunday thanks to a pair of 67s to close. It was a one-shot triumph for Fujikawa and his first victory in seven years.
On social media, the Honolulu native expressed gratitude to his supporters but also admitted that prior to Sunday he thought this winning day might never arrive again.
Honestly never thought this day would come again. My first win in 7 years. Thank you @alohasectionpga and @maunalanigolf for a great event. Also to everyone who has supported me and helped me to keep going when I was at my lowest, I am forever grateful. Feeling so blessed right now! 🙏🏼❤️ #golf #golfcourse #tournament #home #hawaii #kona #bigisland #island #mahalokeakua #thankful #blessed #selfie #selfiesunday
The win pushes Fujikawa back into the spotlight – at least a little bit. With that it brings to light the story of a one-time phenom, and how he’s coped with struggles since.
The 5-foot-1, 150-pound Fujikawa first made waves when he became the youngest player to compete at a U.S. Open, doing so in 2006 at age 15 (Andy Zhang has since broken that record, competing in the 2012 U.S. Open at 14). But Fujikawa truly burst out the following year when at the Sony Open the then-16-year-old became the youngest person to make a PGA Tour cut in 50 years and then proceeded that week to tie for 20th (in just his second career PGA Tour start).
A star was born. Fujikawa won the Hawaii Pearl Open later that year and then turned pro at age 16. The young phenom’s career was expected to take off.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Fujikawa is currently No. 1,929 in the Official World Golf Ranking and any expectations that he would make it to the PGA Tour and thrive there have not panned out. Not even close.
Fujikawa has competed in just 15 PGA Tour events total between 2006 and 2017. His forays into Web.com Tour tournaments have been sparse as well with five starts from 2007-10. He’s competed in 12 Mackenzie Tour events over the last two years but made just one cut.
So yeah, there have been some choppy waters, and Fujikawa has admitted in the past he has thought about quitting on his dream. But he has seemed to get through it all with a smile.
That’s especially notable in the context of one of Fujikawa’s recent social media posts. Back in October, the 26-year-old opened up about mental health issues he had faced.
In a lengthy message, Fujikawa talked in depth about mental health. He revealed “I’ve gone through ‘it’. Anxiety and depression are too real.”
He expounded more on dealing with that, and then offered important advice when it comes to mental health and thoughts on how the subject has been covered and where we can go from here:
I've been trying to withhold from using social media a bit recently but today is #worldmentalhealthday so I felt the need to post something. Especially with all of the hate and terrible things that has been occurring…spreading a little love in times like these are quintessential. So, not many people know this…but I've gone through "it". Anxiety and depression are too real. What I have gone through may not seem as "bad" or detrimental as some other people. But regardless we all have our issues and problems, just in different ways. It's how we deal with those issues and learn how to overcome them that makes us stronger and beautiful in the end. But it all starts with getting help. So if any of you are struggling with any kind of mental illness or addiction, need encouragement, or need someone to talk to, just reach out (to me or someone you feel comfortable with) and don't stop reaching out until you get that help. You are loved and worthy. Remember you are not alone!❤️ What I've learned (so far) in all of this is we are not perfect. It's okay to make mistakes. In the end, that's the only way we can really learn and improve. Also, to surround yourself with good people. People who will encourage you, inspire you to be better and strive for your dreams! On another note…I think this has become such a big issue in our society partially because of the media and social media. But as much as it can/has impaired us, we can use that same platform to spread love and uplift others. This is one of my goals, to be more selfless. It starts with each and every one of us to come together and make a change. 🙂 Sorry for the word vomit. 🤢😂 Lastly, just wanted to thank my friends, family, and friends who have turned into my family for helping me and supporting me. I couldn't have made it through my lowest without y'all. I have been so blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. 💙 #spreadlove #love #selfless #thankful #loveyourself #beautiful #hawaii #oahu #nature #travel #home #lanikai #pillboxes #hike #sun #sunrise #island #sky #skyporn #hiig #hilife #hawaiistagram #luckywelivehawaii #alohaoutdoors #unrealhawaii #glimpseofhawaii #aloha
One win doesn’t change the fact that Fujikawa’s battle in pro golf is still significantly uphill. But it’s a nice glimmer of hope, and a cool bit of nostalgia for a former teen star.
And considering the positivity Fujikawa is looking to radiate, the victory could serve a big purpose.
A career revival? A long way to go, but you never know.