Lexi Thompson shares emotional love letter to golf as she readies to step back

Lexi Thompson looks on after a tee shot.

In a surprise announcement, Lexi Thompson said she'll step away from a full-time LPGA Tour playing schedule at the end of the season.

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A surprise storyline was added to this week’s U.S. Women’s Open when one of the biggest names in the sport, Lexi Thompson, announced her pending retirement from the LPGA Tour.

The LPGA was the first to break the news on Tuesday morning, and Thompson posted a message to her Instagram about an hour later.

Thompson, 29, said she’ll step away from a full-time LPGA schedule at the end of 2024. She’s won 11 times in her LPGA career — including the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship (now the Chevron Championship) for her only major title — but hasn’t won since 2019. Still, she’s remained one of the game’s most popular and marketable players since she stormed onto the scene as a teen.

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Thompson captioned her Tuesday Instagram post as a “letter I wrote to the game of golf.” She spoke for about 3 minutes, 40 seconds as a collage of photos from her career flickered across the screen.

“Golf, what can I say after all these years?” Thompson began. “You have played such an important role for the majority of my life. You welcomed me into your world at such a young age, and for that I am forever grateful.

“Though our relationship has been complicated at times, you taught me resilience, patience and the power of perseverance,” she continued. “You showed me the highs and lows of competing. The thrill of victory and lessons learned in defeat. I’m so grateful to you for all the amazing moments and memories you have given me.”

Thompson mentioned the thrill of qualifying for her first U.S. Women’s Open at age 12 and her first LPGA win at age 16. She said her major win was the proudest moment of her career, and she said she’ll never forget what it felt like competing against the men at the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open.

She spoke about the pride she felt representing her country at the Solheim Cup and Olympics, but she was also open and honest about the difficult aspects of the professional game and the pressure she felt.

“Although this has been an amazing journey, it hasn’t always been an easy one,” she said. “Since I was 12 years old, my life as a golfer has been a whirlwind of constant attention, scrutiny and pressure. The cameras are always on, capturing every swing and every moment on and off the golf course. Social media never sleeps, with comments and criticisms flowing in from around the world. It can be exhausting to maintain a smile on the outside while grappling with struggles on the inside.”

Thompson also thanked fans, friends, family, the LPGA Tour, her sponsors and more. She said she’s looking forward to the next chapter, which means more time with her friends, family and, of course, for herself.

“While it is never easy to say goodbye,” she concluded, “it is indeed time.”

You can listen to her complete message below. Thompson will meet with the media on Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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