Two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu, 33, announces retirement

So Yeon Ryu announced her retirement from professional golf with a two-page hand-written note on Instagram. A classy, personable approach from a player who has been nothing but first-class from the start.

Ryu’s final event will be next month’s Chevron Championship, an event she won in 2017.

“After deciding to retire, I spent much time looking back on my career,” wrote Ryu. “So many memories came flooding back, and I felt so many emotions. But the more I thought about it, the more I was thankful for so many things. I am so grateful that I could do what I loved to do, day in and day out, and even make a career out of it. I am not going to lie; I had some hard patches, but despite some of the challenges, I truly enjoyed it all. And more than anything, I feel incredibly grateful for the love and support I’ve received from all of you throughout my career.”

Ryu, 33, won the 2011 Women’s Open at The Broadmoor East Course in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a three-hole aggregate playoff over fellow South Korean Hee Hyung Seo and joined the LPGA the following season.

She notched six top-five finishes at the U.S. Women’s Open from 2011 to 2019, taking a share of second in ’19 at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

Her second major title came at the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in extra holes against Lexi Thompson after the American star received a controversial four-stroke penalty on Sunday. Ryu was gracious in victory despite the crowd’s overwhelming support of Thompson.

After turning professional at the age of 17, Ryu won six times on the LPGA and 10 times on the Korean LPGA, her most recently victory coming at the 2020 Korea Women’s Open. She’s also a past champion of the Japan Women’s Open.

The 2012 LPGA Rookie of the Year, Ryu earned LPGA Player of the Year honors in 2017. She was ranked No. 1 in the world for 19 weeks from June to November 2017.

A number of star players showered Ryu with well wishes on her post.

“You should be very proud,” wrote Annika Sorenstam. “A wonderful career and true ambassador to the game. Good luck in your next chapter!”

So Yeon Ryu of Korea (R) poses with Annika Sorenstam after receiving the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award during the LPGA Rolex Players Awards at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on November 16, 2017 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Ryu hasn’t yet competed on the LPGA this season. Her most recent LPGA start came at the BMW Ladies Championship in October. Ryu received a special exemption into last year’s historic U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek