15-Time Winner on LPGA Tour Makes Change

Lexi Thompson discusses the emotional struggles of life on the tour
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2024 7:00 PM CDT
Lexi Thompson, Who's 'Only Known Golf,' Makes a Change
Lexi Thompson putts on the 18th green during a practice round for the US Women's Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Lexi Thompson, one of the most popular players on the LPGA Tour, decided Tuesday this will be her last year playing a full schedule. Thompson chose the US Women's Open—the major she first played when she was 12—to announce that she will step away at the end of the year. The 29-year-old American became emotional while talking about the amount of work no one sees and the loneliness she has faced. Thompson said she has contemplated semi-retirement the past few years and cited mental health as one of the factors that contributed to her decision, the AP reports.

"I think we all have our 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 is playing her 18th US Women's Open before turning 30. She won the first of her 15 LPGA titles at age 16. She is known as much for the majors she lost as the one she captured at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2014 when she was 19. She made a vague reference Tuesday to Grayson Murray, who spoke openly about alcoholism and his struggles with depression and anxiety as a tour professional. Murray died by suicide on Saturday.

"Being out here can be a lot. It can be lonely," Thompson said as her voice cracked and she wiped away tears. "I just think—especially with what's happened in golf, as of recent, too—a lot of people don't realize a lot of what we go through as a professional athlete." It's not clear what semi-retirement will mean. Thompson, whose last LPGA victory came nearly five years ago, said she would love to be on the Solheim Cup team one last time. But she said it's time for something else. Thompson was 12 when she qualified for the 2007 US Women's Open at Pine Needles, per the AP, at the time the youngest ever to qualify. She set an LPGA Tour record as the youngest winner when she captured the Navistar LPGA Classic at age 16. "I've only known golf as my life," Thompson said.

(More Lexi Thompson stories.)

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