HONG KONG (AFP) – China’s former world No.1 and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Feng Shanshan announced her retirement from professional golf and the LPGA Tour on Tuesday (Aug 2).
“Now it is time for me to try something different,” said Feng, who will turn 33 on Friday, in a statement posted on her official Instagram page.
The announcement comes a year after her last competitive appearance, at the Tokyo Olympics, where she had strongly hinted she was about to retire.
“In recent years, the global pandemic has changed a lot of things, and has me reflecting,” she said.
“It is time to slow down a little, focus more on my personal growth, and spend some time with my family.”
Feng told AFP in Tokyo it had been an honour to represent her country, for potentially the last time.
“We’re representing our own countries and we’re not playing for prize money, we’re playing for honour,” she said at Kasumigaseki Country Club, where she could not repeat her medal heroics of five years earlier, finishing eighth.
“Out of all my achievements, I would say a medal at the Olympics is very special,” said Feng, whose only Major win came at the 2012 Women’s PGA Championship.
“Even though I’ve been a Major winner, think about it, we have five Majors every year, in four years we have 20 chances to win a Major.
“So I would say it’s harder, much harder, to get a medal at the Olympics. It was the most memorable moment of my career.”
‘My last dance’
Brought up in China’s southern Guangdong province and neighbouring Hong Kong, an 18-year-old Feng became the first Chinese player to earn an LPGA Tour card in 2007.
The easygoing Feng went on to be the first Chinese player, man or woman, to win a Major and lifted 10 LPGA Tour titles during her 14 active years on the tour.
In 2017, she became the only Chinese golfer to date to reach the world No. 1 ranking.
During a supremely consistent career, Feng registered 18 top-10 finishes in Majors, two of them in 2021 even as she was winding down her playing commitments.
It seems clear that golf will remain a big part of Feng’s life, even in retirement.