She lingered behind the 18th green at Newport (R.I.) CC, removed her shoes, visor and glove and placed them in the designated drop area, just like she dreamed she would. Then Rosie Jones pulled sandals out of her golf bag, put them on and walked away from competitive golf for good.
"I'm relieved I'm done. I've been thinking about this for more than a year," said Jones, who retired from the LPGA Tour after completing her final round in the U.S. Women's Open. Jones, 46, finished tied for 57th in the 569th and final event of her career after a closing 77 and 20-over 304 total.
In 25 professional seasons Jones won 13 titles and nearly $8.4 million while playing on seven U.S. Solheim Cup teams. Troubled by neck problems in recent years, Jones' final win came in 2003. She plans to work a handful of events for The Golf Channel this year and hopes to get involved in junior golf programs.
"I still love the game," said Jones, who has made five cuts in nine events this year, her best finish a T-25 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. "I still get mad at myself for bad shots and try to figure out how to fix [them]. But it gets harder to make yourself be as good as you want to be.
"I'm proud of my career," she added, tears streaming down her face. "I wouldn't trade it for the world. I wish I'd won a major, but I gave it my whole heart on every shot. And I've gotten more from the game than I could ever give back."