[Fox News] LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson, 29, abruptly announces retirement, citing mental health

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Lexi Thompson, one of the most famous female golfers in the world, has decided to call it a career when this season ends at the age of 29.

Thompson, a 15-time winner, announced Tuesday this would be her final season of professional golf.

Thompson said she has contemplated semi-retirement the last few years and cited mental health as one of the factors that contributed to her decision.

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“I think we all have our struggles, especially out here,” she said Tuesday at the Women’s U.S. Open. “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. So, it’s hard.

“I’ve struggled with it. I don’t think there’s somebody out here that hasn’t. It’s just a matter of how well you hide it, which is very sad.

“It can get lonely,” Thompson added, fighting back tears. “I just think, especially with what’s happened in golf, a lot of people don’t realize … what we go through as a professional athlete. I’ll be the last one to say ‘throw me a pity party.’ That’s the last thing I want. But we’re doing what we love. We’re trying the best every single day, and we’re not perfect. We’re human, words hurt and it’s hard to overcome sometimes …

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“I think it’s a lot for everybody out here or for (people) in any professional sport. A lot of people don’t know what we go through, the amount of training and hard work that we put ourselves through. It’s a lot, and I think we deserve a lot more credit than we get.”

Thompson’s plea for mental health comes just three days after PGA golfer Grayson Murray died of suicide Saturday, less than 24 hours after withdrawing from the Charles Schwab Challenge due to what the PGA called an illness.

Thompson is playing her 18th U.S. Women’s Open before turning 30. She won the first of her 15 LPGA titles at age 16. She is known as much for the majors she’s lost as the one she captured at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2014 when she was 19.

She set records for youngest to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at age 12 and the youngest LPGA winner at age 16. Both records have since been broken.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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