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Citing her mental health, golfer Lexi Thompson says she will retire at end of season

By Chris Benson
Lexi Thompson lines up a putt on the 13th hole in the first round of the June 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. File Photo By John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | Lexi Thompson lines up a putt on the 13th hole in the first round of the June 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. File Photo By John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) -- Citing struggles with mental health. LPGA tour champ Lexi Thompson revealed Tuesday her intent to retire from professional golf at the end of the season after 17 years.

"Although this has been an amazing journey, it hasn't always been an easy one," Thompson, 29, said on her Instagram page.

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An 11-time LPGA tour champ, Thompson was 12 years old in 2007 when she made history as the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open

"Since I was 12 years old, my life as a golfer has been a whirlwind of constant attention, scrutiny and pressure," she said. "The cameras are always on, capturing every swing and every moment on and off the golf course."

Her words come days after the family of PGA golfer Grayson Murray, 30, revealed that he died by an apparent suicide.

"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," Thompson 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."

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On Tuesday during a U.S. Women's Open press conference at Lancaster Country Club in southern Pennsylvania, Thompson held back tears at some points as she spoke about her impending retirement.

Thompson said "we all" have our own mental health struggles.

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 said Tuesday in Lancaster.

"So it's hard," Thompson said. "I will say, yes, 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."

Social media, she said Wednesday on Instagram, "never sleeps, with comments and criticisms flooding in from around the world."

"It can be exhausting," she said, "to maintain a smile on the outside while grappling with struggles on the inside."

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