Lexi Thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old

Lexi Thompson is calling it a golf career at 29.

Thompson announced on Tuesday that she plans to retire after the current LPGA season.

It can be lonely… I just think a lot of people don’t realize what we go through as a professional athlete,” Thompson told reporters on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Thursday’s U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania. “I’ll be the last one to say throw me a pity party, that’s not what I want. We are doing what we love, trying our best every single day, we are mot perfect, we’re humans, words hurt.

“It’s hard to overcome sometimes but having the people around you that love you and support you, I feel like that’s been the biggest thing for me. I may not have a huge friend group, but to have the people that matter the most around me has gotten me through some real hard times. It’s a lot for everybody out here or any professional sport… I think we deserve a lot more credit than we get.”

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson smiles while putting on the 18th green during a practice round for the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. AP

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. AP

It’s a fitting tournament for the announcement.

Thompson has been in the public spotlight since becoming the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007 at 12 years old.

“She has always had a complicated relationship with stardom; can’t think of another top player for whom the game seemed like such a burden. She’s gonna love retirement,” the Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck wrote about Thompson.

The big-hitting Thompson has 11 career LPGA Tour wins, one major victory — at the 2014 Chevron Championship — and a handful of near misses at other huge events.

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson retiring at the age of 29. Getty Images

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson at the 2024 Chevron Championship. Getty Images

None more painful than when she took a four-stroke penalty for improperly replacing a ball and then signing an incorrect scorecard at the 2017 Chevron.

That mistake pushed her into a playoff, which she lost to So Yeon Ryu, costing Thompson a second major.

Thompson also has second-place finishes at the 2022 Women’s PGA Championship and 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. AP

golf, sports, lexi thompson, lpga, lexi thompson abruptly retiring from professional golf at 29 years old
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Lexi Thompson putts on the 18th green during a practice round for the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. AP

Thompson has earned over $14 million in her career, according to Golf Digest.

“I’m sad for women’s golf but happy for Lexi Thompson, who’s retiring after this season,” PGA Tour Live’s Lisa Cornwell tweeted.

“In my time covering the LPGA, no player made a bigger impact. I’ll miss her graciousness out there. But most of all, I’ll miss her ball-striking. What a f–king flusher.”

Thompson competed in a PGA Tour’s Shriners Open in October, attempting to become the first woman to make the cut at a PGA event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945.

Thomspon shot a 2-under 69 in the second round to finish even par, but came up three shots shy of making the cut.

“It was a special week,” Thompson said at the time. “Obviously, the two rounds were very special, but to be out here, play with the men and just to see the kids alongside cheering my name and hopefully inspiring those kids to follow their dreams.”

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