Cape Town - Hawaiian golfer Tadd Fujikawa has become the first male professional to publicly come out as gay.
The 27-year-old first made headlines back in 2006 when he became the youngest player to qualify for the US Open at Winged Foot aged 15.
The following year he also became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event at the Sony Open.
Fujikawa, who now plays on the PGA Tour Canada, took to social media to explain his decision to come out in an emotional post.
"I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality," he said on Instagram.
"I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much others' stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.
"I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say.
"I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place.
"Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life.
"Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are.
"Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality.
"Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be.
"It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations.
"I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you...spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place."