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He made it official this week in the run-up to the US Open in Lancaster

Lexi Thompson announces her retirement from golf at the age of 29

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Lexi Thompson
Lexi Thompson.

Lexi Thompson competed in her first US Open in 2007, when she was just 12 years old. She thus became the youngest golfer in history, at that time, to play in the tournament. Today, Tuesday, with 29 springs on her ID card and 17 years later, she has announced that she is quitting, it’s over, when the season ends she will retire from full-time competitive golf. She did so in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where the 79th edition of the Women’s US Open kicks off this Thursday.

The surprising news has been the penultimate twist in a golfing career in which she has reaped many successes and also many disappointments and frustrations. A good handful of occasions in which she brushed with glory and stayed on the shore. Those who know her well knew that her intention was to retire before turning 30, what has caught everyone off guard is that she has made it public the week of the US Open.

When the US Open starts on Thursday, it will be Thompson’s 18th consecutive participation in the tournament, an amazing achievement for someone who just turned 29 in February. And although she can still achieve many things, her achievements are more than evident. She won the Junior US Open in 2008, made the cut at the 2009 US Open at 14, and signed a balance of four wins and a draw in the five points she played with the United States in the Curtis Cup in 2010 at 15.

Thompson turned professional in 2010 and the following year, at 16, she achieved the first of her 11 victories on the LPGA Tour. In 2014 she won her only major, the Chevron Championship. Since then, Lexi has finished 16 times in the top 10 in Majors, with some painful moments, such as second place in 2019 or third, one stroke from the playoff, in 2021. Her last victory on the LPGA Tour came in June 2019.

As a professional, Thompson competed for the United States in the Solheim Cup on six occasions and from 2013 to 2022 she was a fixture in the top 10 of the world ranking, earning a place in the Olympic Games in both 2016 and 2021. To say that Thompson’s career has been a wild roller coaster would be an understatement. To say that she has handled all the ups and downs with quiet class would be spot on.

At the 2017 Chevron Championship she incurred a four-stroke penalty for incorrectly replacing her ball after marking it and consequently signing an incorrect card. Even so, she made her way to a playoff that she eventually lost to So Yeon Ryu.

Thompson withdrew from the 2018 AIG Open and took a month off from the LPGA Tour. “I haven’t really felt like myself for quite some time,” Thompson wrote on Instagram. “Therefore, I am taking this time to recharge my mental batteries and to focus on myself away from the game of professional golf.”

That brave act of self-awareness seemed to pay off, as she returned to win the CME Group Tour Championship and then the 2019 ShopRite Classic. But those were her last two victories on the LPGA and the road became irregular again.

Thompson was one stroke behind before the final round of the 2019 US Open at the Charleston Country Club. She made bogey on three of the first four holes on Sunday, fought back into contention with birdies on holes 7 and 9, fell back later with bogeys on holes 11 and 13 and finally finished two strokes behind winner Jeong-eun Lee6.

At the Olympic Club in 2021, Thompson shot 34 on the first nine holes of the final round to open a five-stroke lead, but shot 41 on the last nine holes and finished one stroke from the playoff that Yuka Saso won over Nasa Hataoka. After that round, fighting back tears, Thompson answered media questions and signed autographs for 30 minutes.

Lexi’s aggressive and powerful style of play earned her the respect of millions of fans, but it was the kindness with which she treated those fans that earned her their affection. Whatever is next for Thompson, whether or not it includes golf, she has a legion of fans who will cheer her on. The former child star steps away from competitive golf just as she entered it, with her head held high on her 1.90 meters of height, walking the golf course in her own way and with her own style. Personal and non-transferable.