(CNN) — American golf star Lexi Thompson has withdrawn from next week’s British Open, revealing that the last 18 months have taken a “tremendous toll” on her wellbeing.
In an Instagram post, the 23-year-old major winner said events both on and off the course had affected her.
“It is extremely difficult for me not to play in this prestigious major, but I realized recently that I need to take some time to work on myself,” read Thompson’s heartfelt post.
As recently as March, Thompson admitted she still has “nightmares” about the four-stroke penalty which denied her victory at the ANA Inspiration in April 2017, while her mother, Judy, was diagnosed with uterine cancer in May 2017 and had to undergo a hysterectomy and five radiation treatments.
The American told Golf Digest last November that her mother, whom Thompson has described as “my best friend” and “the strongest woman I know,” had been given the all-clear by doctors.
But in September last year Thompson’s grandmother died, prompting the golfer to step away from social media for a period.
“The events of the past year and a half (on and off the golf course) have taken a tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally,” added Thompson.
“I have not truly felt like myself for quite some time. I am therefore taking this time to recharge my mental batteries, and to focus on myself away from the game of professional golf.”
The world No. 5 said she planned to return to defend her title at the Indy Women in Tech Championship on August 16.
Closing in on a second major title of her burgeoning career at the 2017 ANA Inspiration, Thompson was reduced to tears when an eagle-eyed TV viewer alerted officials to a rules infringement, resulting in a four-stroke penalty.
Visibly shaken, the nine-time LPGA Tour winner rallied to force a playoff with South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, but was unable to fully recover.
The rules have since changed, with officials no longer considering viewer call-ins, but Thompson said in March: “I was screaming, crying. You know, I’ve relived it for a while.”
Things didn’t get any easier at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, where Thompson inexplicably missed a two-foot putt at the 18th that ultimately handed victory to Ariya Jutanugarn.
Had she not rolled her ball right of the cup, both the trophy and Player of the Year honors would likely have been hers. As it was, she had to dust herself down and give another difficult press conference.
“I don’t really know what happened there,” said Thompson. “Yeah, it just happens. I guess it’s golf. I guess we all go through situations we don’t like sometimes.”
Since turning professional aged 15, Thompson has played in hundreds of tournaments, attracted thousands of fans and accumulated almost $8 million in career earnings.
The golfer ended her message with a hint she would be back stronger than ever.
“Thank you all so much for your continued support for your continued support,” wrote Thompson. “I hope to see everyone soon as I plan to defend my title at the 2018 Indy Women in Tech Championship.”
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