Lexi Thompson announced her shock retirement this week at the age of 29 - but is it really that much of a surprise?

The 11-time LPGA winner, Major champion and six-time Solheim Cup player joins a growing list of big-name stars in the women's game to hang up their clubs around the age of 30 and still within the peak of their powers.

Lexi came out on tour very young, playing in the US Open at the age of 12, turning pro at 15, and winning on tour at 16. She plays in her 18th-consecutive US Open this week, where she announced that she will no longer play a full-time schedule from 2025.

So, which other players retired from LPGA Tour life early? 

Annika Sorenstam

Sorenstam is regarded as one of the best female golfers of all time but she bowed out early at the age of 37.

The Swede won 72 times on the LPGA Tour, including ten Majors, but left the sport due to a lack of motivation and the desire to start a family.

She now has her daughter Ava and her son William, who she has played with in the PNC Championship. In her post-retirement career, she captained the European Solheim Cup team after three assistant captaincies, designed golf courses and set up her ANNIKA golf academy.

She returned to playing as a senior and won the 2021 US Women's Senior Open by eight strokes. She has also made sparing appearances on the LPGA Tour in recent years, too.

Lorena Ochoa

Ochoa spent 158 consecutive weeks as World No.1 in her career that featured 27 LPGA Tour titles, including two Majors.

She won the Women's British Open at St Andrews in 2007, a year in which she won eight times and became the first woman to earn more than $4m in a single LPGA season.

The Mexican retired at the age of 28 in 2010 to spend more time at home with her family and to work on her Foundation.

"It wasn’t a shock to the close people," Ochoa told Golf Monthly.

"My sponsors knew and it was the best time. I keep saying that I was so lucky because I made the decision because of the right reasons – I wanted to start a family and spend time with Andres, with my girlfriends, with my relatives.

"Golf was not my priority any more. Before I got too tired of the media, all the courses, the travelling, the players, I said this was the perfect timing. It is still my life, my passion and I still do a lot of work related with golf, but it was a good time."

Suzann Pettersen

The Norwegian ended her professional career in the most incredible of ways when she holed the winning putt at Gleneagles in the 2019 Solheim Cup at the age of 38.

She then went on to captain Europe to a stunning tie at Finca Cortesin in 2023, where Carlota Ciganda secured the crucial point to retain the trophy.

As a player, Pettersen won 15 LPGA Tour titles as well as seven times on the LET and captured two Majors. 

Michelle Wie-West

Michelle Wie-West was one of the LPGA's trailblazing figures in her career after showing huge promise from a young age before going on to win the 2014 US Women's Open at Pinehurst.

The Hawaiian famously competed in multiple PGA Tour events, although never making the cut, and turned pro at the age of 15. She had large endorsement deals with the likes of Nike during her career and went on to play in five Solheim Cups.

She retired in 2023 after becoming a mother in 2020. Wie struggled with wrist injuries and eventually bowed out from the sport at Pebble Beach in the 2023 US Women's Open.

She has gone on to host her own LPGA Tour event and is expecting her second child.

Natalie Gulbis

Gulbis retired from playing on the LPGA Tour in 2020 after 19 years as a pro.

She turned professional at the age of 18 and was a huge name in the women's game in the early-to-mid 2000s. She won once on the LPGA Tour in 2007 and played on three winning US Solheim Cup teams.

She retired at the age of 37 after her later playing days were plagued by back problems.

Morgan Pressel

Pressel stopped playing on the LPGA Tour in 2021 to join Golf Channel/NBC as a broadcaster.

She turned professional as a 17-year-old with huge promise after playing in the US Women's Open at the age of 12. She went on to become the youngest ever player to win a Major at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship as an 18-year-old.

Despite such huge early promise, she only managed one more victory on the LPGA Tour but did play in six Solheim Cups and had 14 top-10s in Majors. She has not officially retired but has not played in a professional tournament since 2021.

Ai Miyazato

Ai Miyazato was known for her smooth swing, first and foremost, and it earned her a total of nine LPGA victories and 15 wins on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

The Japanese star didn't win a Major in her career, with her best finish a third, but she was World No.1 on three occasions. Miyazato decided to call it a day as a professional in 2017 at the age of 32.

Shanshan Feng

Former World No.1 Shanshan Feng announced her retirement in 2022 at the age of 33.

She won ten times on the LPGA Tour, including a Major at the 2012 Women's PGA Championship.

“To those who know me, I set a goal of playing 10 full years of professional golf at the very beginning of my career back in 2007. It is year 15 now," she said.

"Well, I did become world No.1 and won an Olympic medal in year 10 so I awarded myself with some extra fun. Now it is time for me to try something different.”

So Yeon Ryu

Korean So Yeon-Ryu turned professional aged 17 in 2007 and retired at the 2023 Chevron Championship at the age of 33.

She won two Majors during her illustrious career at the 2011 US Women's Open and 2017 ANA Inspiration, reached the World No.1 spot, and won over 20 professional titles.

She described it as "one of the most significant decisions in my life" and said she was "numb" after her final appearance as a pro.

Na Yeon Choi

Choi announced it was time to hang up the clubs in 2022 at the age of 34 after a professional career that began at the age of 16.

Her career featured nine LPGA Tour victories, including her Major triumph at the 2012 US Women's Open. She also had eight wins on the LPGA Tour of Korea.

Her best season statistically was 2010, when she won the LPGA Tour Money List and Vare Trophy (scoring average) as well as two trophies.

Amy Olson

Olson so nearly won a Major in her career, with the American finishing T2nd at both the US Women's Open and Evian Championship.

She famously played in the 2023 US Women's Open while seven months pregnant before announcing her retirement at the age of 31 to focus on being a mother.

Olson won a record 20 NCAA collegiate events while at North Dakota State University yet surprisingly never won on the LPGA Tour. 

2024-05-29T17:12:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd