My Shot I hope that someday people will talk more about my golf and less about the way I speak

May 14, 2000

Two weeks ago, when I won the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship,
I would've loved to have made the thank you speech instead of
having Nancy Lopez do it for me, but because of my stuttering it
would've been Monday by the time I finished. I've always
stuttered. As a child, I spoke too quickly, trying to get
everything out at once. That's still the way I talk. I try to
slow down and breathe properly, but it's not that easy. I know
what I'm supposed to do, but I just can't do it, so I guess I'm
not Nike commercial material.

All the articles written about me focus on my stuttering, and
that bothers me. Why should my stuttering be the story when I
beat the best golfers in the world? I guess when something
stands out, it's always going to get the most attention, so I
don't have much of a choice. Don't get me wrong, the articles
have been nice, but it's like making an eagle and having
everyone ask about your bogey.

Sometimes reporters ask me if I excel at golf because it's an
individual sport. They assume that I became a golfer because my
stuttering turned me into a loner who skulked off to the driving
range and practiced for hours on end so I wouldn't have to speak
to anyone.

That's not me at all. I'm what we call in Sweden a herd animal.
I love having people around. If I have a day to myself with no
company, I get lonely. I'm a bit shy with strangers, but get me
among my Swedish friends and I'll be the one doing most of the
talking.

What I'm trying to say is that there's nothing really different
about me. I just talk a bit slower than everyone else.

Sophie Gustafson, 26, finished 16th at the Philips Invitational.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)