Ai Miyazato is retiring from the LPGA Tour at the end of the season, capping an exceptional career on the circuit that included nine victories and a No. 1 ranking.
The tour announced her decision Friday, saying the 31-year-old Miyazato will hold a news conference Monday in Japan. Miyazato does not have a top-10 finish this season and had only one last year. She has earned more than $8 million in her LPGA Tour career.
"Ai and I are pretty good friends. I knew she was going to retire soon," said South Korea's So Yeon Ryu, who was competing at a tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "She always told me like she was considering about retire after Olympics, but looked like she was keep practice really hard and she just really worked hard."
Miyazato does not have a major title, but she's one of only nine players to make it to No. 1 since the Rolex Rankings began in 2006. Her nine LPGA Tour victories all came between 2009 and 2012, and five of them were in 2010, when she was No. 1 for 11 weeks.
Her most recent LPGA Tour event was the Lotte Championship in April. She is not playing in Michigan this week.
"She age only 31, so I think a little bit -- retired a little bit early," said Haru Nomura of Japan. "I feel like a little bit sad for her."
Women's golf had been dominated by Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa in the years prior to Ochoa's retirement from full-time golf in April 2010. Miyazato was in her prime that year, winning four of the first nine LPGA Tour events she played.
"She came up really about the same time as I did," said two-time major winner Suzann Pettersen. "Very sad but obviously very happy for her if she kind of retires from competitive golf on her own terms. I mean you can't ask for much more. She's achieved a lot and she is probably the nicest player out here, so we'll definitely miss Ai Miyazato out here."