Everybody Loves Tadd

He’s got the smile, the personality and the game. But the best thing about golf prodigy Tadd Fujikawa is that after finding so much success and celebrity, he’s still the humble kid next door

Steve Murray
Friday - March 09, 2007
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On the practice tee at Ko Olina, mom Lori plays caddie for Tadd
On the practice tee at Ko Olina, mom Lori plays caddie for

It’s a standard trick. Take someone with a near perfect image and playfully take them down a peg with tales of mean treatment of sisters and an absolute refusal to eat peas and the lengths to which that person goes to hide such shenanigans. It’s a cheap stunt, but it’s fun.

Universally praised for his polite manners, infectious smile, the joy he brings to the course and his ability to simply cream a golf ball, Tadd Fujikawa seems ripe for such treatment. With no perceivable faults, something must be lurking yet undiscovered.

But after spending time with him and his family, here’s what we found:

Nothing! Zip. Nada. Zilch. His messy room turns out to be no more than an unorganized desk. He likes chocolate. Who doesn’t? Says he could lose a few pounds. Who couldn’t? And if pressed to find something out of whack, mom Lori admits that golf equipment does tend to dominate the house.

Maybe this kid is as good as advertised.

While obviously not perfect, Tadd does seem to have that something special that attracts people. Last month while visiting the Turtle Bay Championship, he obligingly signed an autograph for an older gentleman, who then smiled and patted Tadd on the shoulder. It wasn’t so much that the man appeared happy meeting a celebrity, but that he was simply prideful in the accomplishments of a young man he admires.

Tadd Fujikawa, the little guy with the big smile (and 300-yard drives)
Tadd Fujikawa, the little guy with the
big smile (and 300-yard drives)

He isn’t the only one taken with the charm of Tadd Fujikawa. Following our interview in a Moanalua Shopping Center restaurant, a cute teenage gal walks by with a spirited wave, a big smile and a sing-song greeting. “Hello, Tadd!”

Tadd thinks he may have met her before. Maybe not.

Lori says the support Tadd has received has had a major impact on the family. Especially the letters from students at Aiea and Waikiki elementary schools.

“That alone has really touched our hearts,” says Lori. “If he can make one kid think that ‘I’m gonna make something out of my life’ after they saw him, or kids who are small say ‘Hey, you know what? I can do it. It’s OK that I’m small,’ I think that is the coolest thing in the whole wide world.”

Though Tadd is not necessarily carrying the flag for those not blessed with perfect physical dimensions or the security of wealth, he does want to set an example.

“Look at me,“he says,“I’m what, 5-feet-1, 150 pounds. I’m not made to play golf. I’m not made to do a lot of things. But you accept it and move on and do the best you can. Never give up. Do the best you can with what you got.”

The playful nature that the entire nation got introduced to during the Sony Open hides an intensely competitive and confident athlete. This belief in himself - that began its development

On the practice tee at Ko Olina, mom Lori plays caddie for Tadd

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