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Once one of LPGA's top young golfers, Lexi Thompson to retire at age 29

Thompson said many LPGA golfers battle mental health, "it's just a matter of how well you hide it."
Thompson Retiring Golf
Posted at 8:19 AM, May 29, 2024

Lexi Thompson announced Tuesday she will retire from playing professional golf full-time at the end of the 2024 season citing mental health. She is retiring at age 29, an age far younger than when most pro golfers put their clubs away.

Thompson became a star in women's professional golf at a young age, qualifying for the 2007 U.S. Open at age 12. Four years later, Thompson became the youngest champion of an LPGA tournament event by winning the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic.

In 2014, she won her first, and to date only, major championship by prevailing at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Thompson nearly won another major in 2017. At the 2017 ANA Inspiration, holding a three-stroke lead with six holes to play in the final round, she was informed that she was given a four-stroke penalty for misplaying a ball and signing an incorrect scoreboard a day earlier after a television viewer called in the infraction. The incident prompted the LPGA to issue a rule change to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.

The clubhouse of the Augusta National Golf Club is seen.

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Although the incident still weighs on her, she said she recognized she gained numerous fans following the tournament.

"I'm not going to sit here and say that moment didn't hurt, still does, but it's part of a career," she said.

She wound up finishing in the top 12 of the Rolex Women's World Golf Ranking every year from 2014 through 2022. But her performance has waned in recent years. She finished last year at No. 31. She has continued to slide in the ranking, currently standing at No. 54.

Having not won a tournament since 2019 has taken a toll on her, Thompson conceded.

"I think we all have our own struggles, especially out here," she said. "Unfortunately in golf, you lose more than you win, so it's an ongoing battle to continue to put yourself out there in front of the cameras and continuing to work hard and maybe not seeing the results you want and getting criticized for it. So it's hard."

Thompson suggested that all LPGA members battle mental health. "I don't think there's somebody out here that hasn't," she said.

"It's just a matter of how well you hide it, which is very sad," she added. "It's an important thing to address and be OK with getting help and getting the support and surrounding yourself with the people that support you and love you, because there's always people that do care so much about you and will help you get through those tough moments."

Thompson noted that she may continue to play part-time, but would need to take things day by day.

In the meantime, she is preparing for this weekend's U.S. Women's Open.