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Lexi Thompson

This is how I will remember Lexi. Having fun, playing great, and a fan favorite. Yesterday she announced her retirement from playing golf full time after seventeen years in the public eye at only twenty-nine years old.

She said she was tired of the grind, the early morning alarm clock wake-ups, the training, the media commitments, and mostly the overwhelming pressure of being a professional athlete. I'm happy for her. She won eleven times on tour including one major but her last win came in 2019 and this season she has missed the cut in four of the six tournaments she has played including the last three in a row.

This is a picture of taken moments after an LPGA official informed her on the 13th hole of the 2017 Kraft Nabisco Championship that a viewer reported she miss replaced her marked ball on a hole the previous day and that they were going to assess her four strokes immediately. This meant she went from being in front by three shots to being behind by one with five holes to play. She went on to reach a playoff with Yeon Ryu but lost on the first hole.

She was never the same golfer again after that moment.

I have written several times over the past six years that she does not look like she is enjoying herself on the golf course anymore. It looks like it takes all she can muster to just tee it up each day. She no longer has that sparkle in her eyes or the bounce to her step she was known for. She looks depressed. You wonder how the recent suicide of PGA golfer Grayson Murray effected her decision to walk away?

You can read plenty of stories on line about her interview yesterday so I'm not going to get into all that here but it is worth reading to hear how she has struggled to maintain herself since the 2017 event. It is hard to be a professional athlete, especially when you are one of the top players and also one of the most popular. It isn't quite as glamorous as we like to think.

She is a fierce competitor in the Solheim Cup games for team USA even when she isn't playing particularly well on tour. She has only a few close friends on tour preferring to keep fellow pros and the media at arms length yet she has always taken comfort and resolve from her fans. They are why she plays. They are what she looks forward to at the end of each day. They are the ones that bring her back up when she is at her emotional bottom. You can see how she loves to sign autographs for little girls and take a picture with them. That is what drives her, not golf anymore.

We forget that she started playing in tournaments at five years old. She qualified for the US Open at twelve and made the cut at fourteen. I don't know about you but at twelve I was still learning how to use a Kleenex instead of my arm to blow my nose and being a professional level athlete was nowhere near where I was at that time. She has never had a day outside of golf for her entire life and you know what, she is ready to see what it is like out there and good for her.

I'm happy for her that she made this decision because I feared the alternative would be more like Grayson Murray if she stayed. Obviously I'm not a doctor so this is just my feeling but she did not look like she was in a good place for he past six years or so. I wish her the best at whatever path she decides to travel going forward and I hope that she finds that happy place in her heart and head once again.

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