9-time LPGA winner Choi Na-yeon announces retirement

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) — South Korean golfer Choi Na-yeon, who counts nine LPGA titles among her 15 career wins, announced her retirement Wednesday at age 34.

“After a long deliberation, I have made a difficult decision,” Choi said in a statement released by her agency, GAD Sports. “I will stop playing golf. It was my entire life. There were times when I loved it so much and also hated it so much.”
Choi plans to make the Oct. 20-23 BMW Ladies Championship, to tee off in Wonju, some 85 kilometers east of Seoul, her final LPGA tournament. She will then play her final professional event at the SK Shieldus•SK Telecom Championship on the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour, starting Nov. 11.

“I felt this was the right time for me to retire. I believe I’ve worked hard throughout my career, with nothing to be ashamed of and no regrets,” Choi said. “This is not an easy decision, but I wanted to do what’s best for myself.”

Choi won her first KLPGA title as a high school phenom in 2004 and went on to notch 14 more victories after turning pro shortly after that maiden win.

Choi joined the LPGA Tour in 2008 and was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year.

She won twice in 2009 and twice more in 2010, the year in which she also led the LPGA in money and scoring average. Her only major title came at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open.

Choi’s last LPGA victory came at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in June 2015.

Choi said she will continue to stay connected with the game through her YouTube channel and lessons for amateurs.

“Even when I was winning tournaments, I felt lonely and exhausted,” Choi said. “I may miss the game, but I am looking forward to the new chapter in my life.”

She added that she will try to help steer younger golfers in the right direction.

“I will try to share my experience and knowledge with you,” Choi said. “I know how lonely it can be out on the tour. I’d like to tell you to take a look at yourself in the mirror once in a while and realize what a great player you are already. Be proud of yourself and love yourself.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency