Ahead of her 18th consecutive appearance at the U.S. Women's Open, Lexi Thompson has announced her retirement from playing women's professional golf full time

Whilst there has been speculation for a while, few would have guessed the timing of Lexi Thompson's retirement from playing women's professional golf full time.

Today, just two days before the start of the 2024 U.S. Women's Open, 29-year-old Thompson, who is making her 18th consecutive appearance at the Major, made her retirement announcement via her social media with a long letter to golf. She finished with:

"While it is never easy to say goodbye, it is indeed time. At the end of 2024, I will be stepping away from a full professional golf schedule. I'm excited to enjoy the remainder of the year as there are still goals I want to accomplish. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life. Time with family, friends, and my trusted companion Leo. I will always look for ways to contribute to the sport and inspire the next generation of golfers. And of course, I look forward to a little time for myself."

Making her impact on women's professional golf

Turning professional in June 2010, aged just 15, the American has had quite a phenomenal career. Her first professional victory came as a non-member of the LPGA at the Navistar LPGA Classic in September 2011, where she successfully petitioned the LPGA to make her a member for the 2012 season. She would then go on to win on the Ladies European Tour in 2011 that year, winning the Dubai Ladies Masters by four shots at age 16 years, 10 months, seven days.

Fourteen years later, ten more LPGA wins, which included a Major at the now Chevron Championship, Thompson is ready to step away from being on the tour full time, she's not completely ruled out playing in the future but we won't be seeing her every week on the LPGA.

When asked at a press conference held at the 2024 U.S. Women's Open at Lancaster Country Club on Tuesday about what she was most proud of herself for overcoming, Thompson said:

"That's a great question. I think honestly just staying true to myself. Being out here can be a lot. It can be lonely. Sorry if I get emotional. I said I wasn't going to. (Crying). I just think, especially with what's happened in golf, as of recent too, a lot of people don't realize a lot of what we go through as a professional athlete.

"I'll be the last one to say like throw me a pity party. That's the last thing I want. We're doing what we love. We're trying the best every single day. You know, we're not perfect. We're humans. Words hurt. It's hard to overcome sometimes. But having the people around you that love you and support you, I feel like that's been the biggest thing for me.

"I might not have a huge friend group, but to have the people that matter the most around me has gotten me through some really hard times. I think it's a lot for everyone out here or 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. I think we deserve a lot more credit than what we get."

"Inspired countless girls around the world"

LPGA HQ was quick to get a statement from LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan:

“Lexi's impact extends far beyond the golf course. She embodies the spirit and dedication of our Founders - always showing up and engaging intentionally to help further the growth and impact of the LPGA.

“She is beloved by fans, consistently seen signing autographs and interacting with them no matter the result that day. Lexi’s commitment to our partners has also been unparalleled. Throughout her career, she has continually made time to engage with partners, their employees and their clients, and truly has valued their tremendous support of women’s golf.

“This dedication was exemplified last year when she was honored with our Founders Award, given to an LPGA Member who best exemplifies the spirit, ideals, and values of the LPGA through her behavior and deeds, as voted on by her peers. Lexi's remarkable career and the way she has conducted herself both on and off the course have inspired countless girls around the world to pursue their goals with passion and perseverance.”

Whilst World Number one Nelly Korda added in her press conference:

"I honestly heard probably 15 minutes ago that she's retiring. She's had such an amazing career, I think. I've gotten to be on the team with her a couple times representing our country. I think she does an amazing job for the Tour. She spends so much time going to each Pro-Am party. She really dedicated her time to growing the game. It's sad to see that she's obviously leaving and not going to be out here with us anymore, but she's had an amazing career, and I wish her the best in this new chapter of her life."

Eyes on the 2024 Solheim Cup

There are still seven months to go until the end of the year and Lexi is not finished yet:

"Number one is to definitely be on the Solheim Cup team. Huge honor just to represent my country and play alongside the team there and my captain; definitely that.

"Every tournament I tee it up, I want to win still. Doesn't matter what position I'm at, I want to win and just enjoy the ride and keep on seeing the improvements. I've been working very hard on my game, so to see the continued hopefully improvements, that's big for me."

We're looking forward to seeing how Lexi performs as she walks towards retirement. There is no doubt that when she does retire the impact she has had and the legacy she will leave will be felt for years to come. There aren't many women professional golfers who have moved the needle but Lexi did and golf is all the more better for it.

Here's all you need to know about the 2024 U.S. Women's Open Presented by Ally - find out more.