Tokyo - Former women's world number one Ai Miyazato of Japan
will retire from professional golf at the end of the 2017 season, her
management said on Friday.
No reasons were immediately given for the decision. The
31-year-old Miyazato, a nine-time winner on the American LPGA circuit who has
slipped outside the top 100, is set to give a news conference on Monday.
Younger sister to Kiyoshi and Yusaku, who play on the
Japanese men's tour, Miyazato won a Japanese title as an amateur in 2003 while
still at high school.
The Okinawa-born sensation followed that with an astonishing
rookie season in 2004, capturing five more domestic titles. She went on to win
15 times on the Japanese tour.
Her switch to the lucrative LPGA Tour in 2006 proved equally
successful and by 2010 she had risen to the top of the women's rankings.
However, Miyazato failed to win a major and her last
tournament win came in 2012.