LPGA Star Lexi Thompson Announces Retirement Due to Mental Health Struggles

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Lexi Thompson, one of the most-loved figures of the LPGA Tour, has revealed that she will bid farewell to her full-time playing career by the end of this calendar year. Thompson, who first rose to prominence as a 12-year-old when she partook in the U.S. Women’s Open, announced her impending retirement at the same event; an experience that drew forth a wave of emotion and reminiscence from the now 29-year-old American.

While golf has been a lifelong pursuit for Thompson, she confessed to having been considering semi-retirement for several years now. One of the major factors leading to this decision has been her struggle with mental health issues, something that has unfortunately been exacerbated by a career marked by isolation and criticism, alongside unseen hard work and heartbreak.

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“We inevitably face more losses than victories on the golf course, which takes a significant toll,” Thompson disclosed. “Despite our best efforts, we might not always see the results we desire and that can be psychologically draining. Everyone on this Tour has their battles – the truth of it often concealed behind appearances, which I find quite disturbsome.”

Having played in 18 U.S. Women’s Opens and securing the first of her 15 LPGA titles as a 16-year-old, Thompson has had a colorful career, enriched by victories as well as defeats. Her single most significant achievement to date remains the Kraft Nabisco Championship she bagged at the tender age of 19.

Thompson alluded to fellow golfer Grayson Murray’s struggles with alcoholism, depression, and anxiety, which tragically culminated in his suicide, to highlight the stress and solitude often shadowing the lives of professional athletes. “The public doesn’t fully grasp the toll this lifestyle can have on us,” she lamented. “While we’re undeniably pursuing our passion, we are still susceptible to derogatory remarks and a lack of gratification. Ultimately, it is the unconditional support of my truest confidants that have carried me through the darkest times.”

Although the specifics of her semi-retirement remain ambiguous, Thompson intends to funnel her energies into her fitness app while seeking new adventures away from the greens. Her last LPGA title came almost half a decade ago and Thompson confessed that it was past time to explore new territories.

The news of her retreat stunned her fellow competitors on the LPGA circuit. Her announcement, posted then deleted on social media several times, went live when she was still on the course. Nelly Korda, one of her contemporaries, expressed her admiration for Thompson’s dedication to the game and her sadness at the upcoming absence of such a significant figure from the Tour.

Since her eye-catching appearance in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles as the youngest qualifier ever, Thompson has continually carved her name in the annals of the LPGA Tour. She blazed another trail by emerging victorious at the Navistar LPGA Classic at only 16, setting a record for the youngest winner of the event.

While these records have subsequently been broken, Thompson’s storied career on the LPGA circuit will undoubtedly remain an inspiring testament to her talent and perseverance. As Thompson looks ahead to her future beyond the greens, she intends to take each day as it comes, for now, embracing her final full-time year before stepping back to carve out a new path in the world outside golf.