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So Yeon Ryu, two-time LPGA major winner, announces retirement at age 33

March 21, 2024
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Lionel Ng

South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, a two-time major champion and six-time LPGA Tour winner, announced on Instagram Thursday that the Chevron Championship would be her last event before retiring.

"After deciding to retire, I spent much time looking back on my career," Ryu posted in a handwritten note. "So many memories came flooding back, and I felt so many emotions. But the more I thought about it, the more I was thankful for so many things. I am so grateful that I could do what I loved to do, day in and day out, and even make a career out of it. I am not going to lie; I had some hard patches, but despite some of the challenges, I truly enjoyed it all. And more than anything, I feel incredibly grateful for the love and support I've received from all of you throughout my career."

Ryu, 33, won the first of her two majors at the 2011 U.S. Women's Open and joined the LPGA the next year. Impressively, she finished in the top 25 at the U.S. Women's Open for 11 straight years from 2010 to 2021, including six top-five finishes. Ryu's streak snapped in 2022 when she missed the cut at Pine Needles. Ryu received a special exemption to play at Pebble Beach last season where she finished tied for 53rd.

The 2017 season was a banner year for Ryu. She won the ANA Inspiration in a playoff after Lexi Thompson received a four-stroke penalty. Ryu became the third South Korean to become the No. 1 player in Rolex Women's World Ranking history after winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship that September. Her dominant campaign, including 11 top-10 finishes, earned her the LPGA's Player of the Year and Annika Major awards.

Ryu also played on three International Crown teams, including their 2018 victory on home soil in Incheon, South Korea.

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So Yeon Ryu wasn't even a member of the LPGA Tour when she won the 2011 U.S. Women's Open. It springboarded her career in the U.S., where she would win six times ahead of announcing her pending retirement.

Mike Ehrmann

The 13-year veteran's start at the Chevron Championship will be her first event of 2024. Ryu last played on the LPGA at the BMW Ladies Championship in October 2023, finishing T-68. Her last LPGA title came at the Meijer LPGA Classic in 2018.