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Lexi Thompson to retire from golf at season end

Lexi Thompson, 29, announced her surprise retirement from professional golf at the end of the 2024 season (Mike Stobe)
Lexi Thompson, 29, announced her surprise retirement from professional golf at the end of the 2024 season (Mike Stobe)

American golfer Lexi Thompson announced Tuesday that she will retire from the LPGA tour at the end of the 2024 season.

Thompson, 29, is an 11-time LPGA tour winner, a major champion, a two-time Olympian and a six-time US Solheim Cup team member.

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

"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."

The announcement comes just days before the start of the US Women's Open, in which Thompson will compete for the 18th consecutive year after first playing in the tournament as a 12-year-old phenomenon in 2007.

The Florida native turned professional in 2010 at the tender age of 15 and one year later won the Dubai Ladies Masters Championship on the Ladies European Tour (LET), becoming the youngest professional to win on the tour.

Perhaps the crowning moment of her career came in 2014 when she won her only major, the Chevron Championship (then named the Kraft Nabisco Championship).

She was controversially denied a second major title in 2017 when she was hit with a four-shot penalty during the closing holes of the ANA Inspiration -- later renamed the Chevron Championship -- for a third-round rules infraction that had been brought to the attention of officials by a television viewer.

She subsequently lost in a play-off to Ryu So-yeon, one of four times that Thomspson finished runner-up or tied for second at a major.

LPGA tour commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan paid tribute to her: "Lexi's impact extends far beyond the golf course... (her) 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."

News of Thompson's retirement took the golf world by surprise, with world number one Nelly Korda leading the tributes ahead of this week's US Women's Open.

"I honestly heard probably 15 minutes ago that she's retiring," Korda said during a press conference in Lancaster.

"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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