'I Cannot Believe This Is Real' - Emotional So Yeon Ryu Reflects On Retirement After Chevron Championship Missed Cut

The two-time Major champion missed the cut at the Chevron Championship in what is her last tournament as a professional

So Yeon Ryu of South Korea plays a shot on the second hole during the second round of The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods on April 19, 2024 i
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An emotional So Yeon Ryu said she felt "numb" as the reality of retirement hit home following a missed cut at the Chevron Championship, her final tournament as a professional.

Ahead of the first women's Major of the year, Ryu penned a handwritten letter on social media announcing her surprise retirement from professional golf.

Having turned professional aged 17 in 2007, the now 33-year-old went on to win two Majors during her illustrious career but admitted before the tournament that she had been worn down by the non-stop nature of Tour life.

The South Korean's hopes of making the cut in her final event were largely dashed after an opening-round 77 on Thursday at The Club at Carlton Woods. A spirited second-round display saw the former World No. 1 shoot a second-round 74 but ultimately miss the cut by five strokes.

"I'm very numb now. I just cannot believe this is real. Nobody pushed me to retire. That was my decision. Still, I just cannot believe this is real," Ryu reflected after her round on Friday.

"I felt teary all the time for sure, but I promised myself I was not going to cry because I feel like once I'm going to cry I'm going to lose it. I wanted to make sure this week is a celebratory week, not a sad week. 

"It's been very touching. A lot of people came up to me and congratulated me. I just feel very blessed. You cannot really have this feeling often. Maybe this is my first and last. 

"I really tried my best to enjoy everything. Even out there I tried to enjoy the thrill of a tee shot, a tough chip shot, the nerves when I had a birdie putt kind of stuff. I think I'm very satisfied with my week."

So Yeon Ryu holds the ANA Inspiration trophy in 2017

Ryu won her second Major at the 2017 ANA Inspiration

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having kept her emotions in check throughout her first two rounds, Ryu admitted that the reality of her decision finally hit home as she approached the 18th tee box on Friday.

"I actually tried not to think about it until like 16th hole, and then when I got to the 18th teeing ground, all of a sudden in my head, is this going to be my last tee shot," she said.

"Then I just couldn't believe it. That was a time that I started to feel like this was it. I think I will feel a little emotional, but I guess it's going to hit me maybe tonight. I don't know. I'm still quite numb. Like I just can't believe it. I just don't know what to say."

At the other end of the leaderboard, Jin Hee Im and Atthaya Thitikul share the lead at eight-under-par, but all eyes remain on Nelly Korda who is just one shot behind and attempting to become just the third LPGA Tou player to win five consecutive tournaments.

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.