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Gay Golfer Heads To Semi-Retirement

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Gay Golfer Heads To Semi-Retirement

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 12, 2004 4:08 pm ET

(Portland, Oregon) The first lesbian pro golfer to come out has been plagued with a serious neck problem that is forcing her into semi-retirement.

Rosie Jones came out publicly last March in an op ed article for the New York Times. Now she is looking at winding down her career.

"I have strong feelings about gay and lesbian civil rights: I vote; I have my beliefs. And I support causes and people, both gay and straight, who have inspired me through the years," she wrote. (story)

A perennial favorite on the LPGA tour, Jones said she had been comfortable with the fact she is a lesbian for 25 years but never saw the need to be public, writing "first and foremost, I am a proud and blessed member of the LPGA and a professional athlete -- not an activist.''

Her article concluded: "Fine, I'm gay. Now let's go play golf."

But, this week's Safeway Classic in Portland Oregon might be one of her last professional games.

A serious neck problem that will not go away has plagued her performance this year. Jones, 44, told reporters that she will go into at least semi-retirement next year, playing mostly in the summer.

"It's a degenerative disk disease," Jones told reporters. "There's three disks in my neck, one in the middle of the other two is herniated and the other two are starting to bulge, and it's causing me some flexibility problems."

She said her neck gets stiff during play and affects her game.

"I'm just getting tired. I've been out here 23 years, and I've never really been a long-ball hitter, and the golf courses are getting longer, and players are getting longer, and I'm getting older," she said.

But, Jones said she has regrets. " I feel like I've had a great career," she said. "The only thing missing is winning that major, but I think I've got great major history. Even without that, I don't think I'm going to think about my career any differently."

When she isn't golfing, Jones is a spokesperson for gay travel company Olivia, a deal she signed just after coming out.

©365Gay.com 2004

365gay.com

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