Lexi Thompson Announces Retirement from Professional Golf, Citing Mental Health Challenges

Lexi Thompson, a prominent figure in women’s professional golf, has announced her retirement from the LPGA Tour at the age of 29. In a heartfelt open letter shared on Instagram on May 28, Thompson cited the immense pressures and scrutiny associated with playing a professional sport as the primary reasons for her decision.

Thompson, who has been a fixture in the golf world since she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at just 12 years old, expressed the toll that constant public attention has taken on her mental health. “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,” she wrote.

The golf star highlighted the relentless nature of social media, stating, “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.”

Throughout her career, Thompson achieved remarkable milestones, including 11 LPGA Tour victories, a major championship, and representing the United States in two Olympic Games. Her career earnings surpassed $14 million, cementing her legacy in the sport.

In her retirement video, Thompson emphasized the importance of addressing mental health issues and finding solace in sharing her struggles with others. “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,” she said. “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.”

During a press conference at the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open, Thompson further elaborated on her decision, highlighting the unique mental health challenges faced by professional golfers. “Unfortunately in golf, you lose more than you win, so it’s an ongoing battle to continue to put yourself out there in front of the cameras and continuing to work hard and maybe not seeing the results you want and getting criticized for it,” she explained. “It’s an important thing to address and be okay with getting help and getting the support and surrounding yourself with the people that support you and love you.”

Thompson’s announcement comes in the wake of other athletes, like gymnast Simone Biles and NFL quarterback Stetson Bennett, publicly discussing the pressures of competing in the public eye. The recent tragic death of golfer Grayson Murray, who took his own life, has also brought the issue of mental health among athletes to the forefront.

Thompson’s retirement marks the end of a remarkable chapter in women’s golf, but her openness about mental health challenges and advocacy for seeking support will continue to inspire many within and outside the sport.

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