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Golfer Lexi Thompson Announces Retirement at 29, Cites Social Media ‘Comments and Criticisms’

Golfer Lexi Thompson Announces Retirement at 29, Cites Social Media ‘Comments and Criticisms’
Lexi Thompson. Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Golfer Lexi Thompson, who won a major championship when she was just 19 years old, has announced her retirement. 

Thompson, 29, broke the news that she’d be leaving the sport at the end of 2024 in a video posted via Instagram on Tuesday, May 28, calling it “the letter I wrote to the game of golf.”

“What can I say after all these years?” Thompson said to open the video. “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.”

As clips from her decorated career were shown — including becoming the then-youngest golfer to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 12 in 2007 — Thompson acknowledged the tenuous struggle she has had with golf throughout the years. 

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“Though our relationship has been complicated at times, you’ve taught me resilience, patience and the power of perseverance,” Thompson admitted. “You’ve shown me the highs and lows of competition, the thrill of victory and lessons learned in defeat.”

She continued, “You haven’t always been easy on me or fair, for that matter. But throughout all the ups and downs, you’ve given me a platform to inspire others and positively impact the world. That has been the driving force that kept me playing and relentlessly working to be better.”

Thompson gave a shout-out to her fans, who she said allowed her to “dig deep and keep competing,” before turning the focus to her family. 

Golfer Lexi Thompson Announces Retirement at 29, Cites Social Media ‘Comments and Criticisms’
David Berding/Getty Images

“I wouldn’t be in this position today if it weren’t for the love, sacrifice and dedication of my mom and dad,” she said. “Words cannot express my gratitude for always being there for me and pushing me to be my best every single day.”

Thompson then further acknowledged the specific pressures that convinced her it was time to step away from the game.

“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 tension, scrutiny and pressure. The cameras are always on, capturing every swing and every moment on and off the golf course.”

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She continued, “Social media never sleeps, with comments and criticisms flooding in from around the world. It can be exhausting to maintain a smile on the outside while grappling with struggles on the inside.”

In her candor, Thompson explained how vulnerability about her own journey has allowed her to develop a special support system within the sport. 

She said, “By opening up about my own battles, I’ve been able to connect with others who feel isolated in their struggles, offering them a sense of community and understanding. Each time I share, it reinforces the message that it’s OK to not be OK and that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.”

Thompson ended the emotional video with an optimistic nod toward the future. 

“I will always look for ways to contribute to this sport and inspire the next generation of golfers,” she noted. “And, of course, I look forward to a little time for myself.”

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