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Published on May 28, 2024
Golf Phenom Lexi Thompson Shocks Fans with Retirement from Full-Time Professional Play at 29Source: Wikipedia/Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a twist that would send ripples through the lush greens, Lexi Thompson, a prodigy of the fairways, has decided to call it quits on full-time professional golf at the tender age of 29. Synonymous with power-driven tee shots and iconic poses on the golf course, Thompson's retirement marks the end of an era that once had her pegged as the face of women's golf for many a year to come.

Thompson's announcement, dropped like a sudden summer downpour on Instagram, was later substantiated by a personal address ahead of the U.S. Women's Open, confirming what had percolated in golf circles as mere speculation. To fully grasp the magnitude of her retirement is to truly recognize just how young a contender she was when she first swung into the sport's spotlight. According to NBC Miami, Thompson was a mere 12 years old when she qualified for the 2007 U.S. Women's Open, and by 16, she had set the bar as the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour with her Navistar LPGA Classic victory — both records have since been broken.

The Carl Springs native, through the arc of her career, bagged 15 LPGA Tour wins. Despite the hefty tally, she claimed only one major championship — a feat she achieved at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California. CBS12 detailed some of Thompson's more heartbreaking turns, including a four-shot penalty at the 2017 Kraft Nabisco that dashed her victory hopes and the haunting memory of a five-shot lead slipping through her fingers at the 2021 U.S. Women's Open.

Golf aficionados will surely remember Thompson not only for her competitive spirit but also her foray into the men's PGA Tour with a sponsor exemption — a move that kept even the most stoic fans precariously perched on the edge of the proverbial seat briefly, as she flirted with making the cut. Yet, as if signaling a shift in the winds, Thompson hasn't been able to capture an LPGA title for nearly five years, with her last win coming from a Ladies European Tour event funded by Saudi-based Aramco in 2022. It might have been quite clear to the sharp-eyed observant that without fresh victories to bolster her, Thompson's time on the leaderboard was facing an inevitable dusk.

Thompson's departure from the constant travel and grind of full-time tour life leaves a space that can only be filled by the next generation of young golfers inspired by her colossal drives and unyielded passion. As the sun sets on Thompson's full-time LPGA career, one can only watch in anticipation to see how her legacy will continue to shape the course of women's golf for years to come.