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Lexi Thompson: Solheim Cup star to retire from professional golf at end of 2024 LPGA Tour season

Lexi Thompson announces ahead of the US Women's Open she will retire from professional golf at the end of the season; watch the US Women's Open live on Sky Sports from Thursday May 30, starting at 5pm

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Lexi Thompson became emotional as she reflected on her career following her decision to retire at 29

Lexi Thompson has announced she will retire from full-time professional golf at the end of the season.

Thompson is playing in her 18th US Women's Open this week, and the fact she is only 29 speaks to a career that began at such a young age.

She was 12 when she qualified for the 2007 US Women's Open at Pine Needles, at the time the youngest ever to qualify. She also set an LPGA Tour record as the youngest winner when she captured the Navistar LPGA Classic at the age of 16. Both records have since been broken.

Thompson has won 15 times on the LPGA Tour, but only claimed one major title - in 2014 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California.

"While it is never easy to say goodbye, it is indeed time," Thompson said. "At the end of 2024, I will be stepping away from a full professional golf schedule.

"I'm excited to enjoy the remainder of the year as there are still goals I want to accomplish. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life. Time with family, friends, and my trusted companion, Leo.

"I will always look for ways to contribute to the sport and inspire the next generation of golfers. And, of course, I look forward to a little time for myself."

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Lexi Thompson is to retire from professional golf
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Thompson highlights struggles of professional athletes

Thompson described the challenges of constantly being in the spotlight - including dealing with social media, with the six-time Solheim Cup player also making reference to the death of PGA Tour player Grayson Murray during her retirement press conference.

Murray - who took his own life on May 24 - spoke openly about alcoholism and his struggles with depression and anxiety from life as a tour professional, with Thompson wiping away tears as she discussed the challenges faced by professional athletes.

"Being out here can be a lot," Thompson added in her press conference ahead of the US Women's Open. "It can be lonely. Especially with what's happened in golf, as of recently too, a lot of people don't realise a lot of what we go through as a professional athlete.

"I'll be the last one to say like throw me a pity party. That's the last thing I want. We're doing what we love. We're trying the best every single day. You know, we're not 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 might not have a huge friend group, but to have the people that matter the most around me have gotten me through some really hard times.

"I think it's a lot for everyone out here or in any professional sport. A lot of people don't know what we go through. The amount of training and hard work that we put ourselves through, it's a lot. I think we deserve a lot more credit than what we get."

Tributes made to 'amazing' Thompson career

Thompson has been a runner-up in four other majors, most notably being penalised four shots in the final round of the 2017 Kraft Nabisco from a rules violation the day before, and losing a five-shot lead at The Olympic Club in the 2021 US Women's Open.

She grew up playing with her brothers, two of whom reached the PGA Tour, and is renowned for her power.

Thompson accepted an exemption last year to play the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas, where she kept fans in suspense briefly about making the cut until fading.

For all her prodigious power, Thompson has gone nearly five years since her last LPGA victory, though she did win a Ladies European Tour event funded by Saudi-based Aramco in October 2022.

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Highlights from day three of the Aramco Team Series in New York, where Thompson claimed victory

"On behalf of the LPGA Tour, I want to thank Lexi for her incredible contributions to our Tour and to women's golf," LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said. "We wish her all the best in her next chapter, and we, along with the fans, look forward to watching her compete and celebrating her throughout the rest of the season.

"Lexi's impact extends far beyond the golf course. She embodies the spirit and dedication of our founders - always showing up and engaging intentionally to help further the growth and impact of the LPGA.

"She is beloved by fans, consistently seen signing autographs and interacting with them no matter the result that day. Lexi's commitment to our partners has also been unparalleled; throughout her career, she has continually made time to engage with partners, their employees, and their clients, and truly has valued their tremendous support of women's golf.

"This dedication was exemplified last year when she was honoured with our Founders Award, given to an LPGA member who best exemplifies the spirit, ideals, and values of the LPGA through her behaviour and deeds, as voted on by her peers.

"Lexi's remarkable career and the way she has conducted herself both on and off the course have inspired countless girls around the world to pursue their goals with passion and perseverance."

World No 1 Nelly Korda commented on Thompson's impact on the LPGA Tour.

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"She's had such an amazing career," Korda said. "I've gotten to be on the team with her a couple times representing our country.

"I think she does an amazing job for the Tour. She spends so much time going to each pro-am party. She really dedicated her time to growing the game. It's sad to see that she's obviously leaving and not going to be out here with us anymore, but she's had an amazing career, and I wish her the best in this new chapter of her life."

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