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Daniel Ponders Retirement

04 BMO WomenNIAGRA FALLS, Ontario -- Beth Daniel has far greater concerns than defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this week. Frustrated by her performance this year, the 47-year-old Hall of Famer is contemplating the possibility of retiring at the end of this season, her 26th as a professional.
'This year has just not been good at all,' Daniel said Wednesday. 'And it would be very, very easy for me to walk away from it at the end of this year if I continue playing this way.'
Daniel's comments came during a news conference attended by just four reporters, perhaps a sign of how far she's fallen.
The Canadian Open is scheduled to begin at the Legends on the Niagara course on Thursday.
While Daniel remains candid, this is not the same confident person that punched the air in victory following a final-hole birdie putt to win last year's Canadian Open at Vancouver, British Columbia, and, at 46, become the oldest woman to win an LPGA Tour event.
The win - the 33rd of her career - capped a strong season in which she had eight top-10 finishes.
But last year's success is a distant memory for Daniel, who has not finished better than a tie for 22nd in the 10 tournaments she's entered this season. And it's no fun being ranked 57th on the money list with just over $103,000.
'As long as I felt like I could really compete out there, I would stay,' Daniel said. 'But, you know, if I finish even 50th on the money list, then it's not worth it for me. You know, `I've had my career, give somebody else a chance.'
'I have a nice home in Florida. I have no problem staying at home and just enjoying things.'
Asked if this Canadian Open might be her last, Daniel said: 'I can't answer that.'
Smiling, she added, 'Who knows, maybe I'll win this year and I'll come back.'
Daniel is part of a patchwork field - minus top players such as Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park - that's vying for a share of the $1.3 million purse and taking on an unknown, 3-year-old course.
With its wide-open fairways and large, undulating greens that offer a wide array of challenging pin placements, Legends stresses accuracy on approach-shot and putting.
The field is led by U.S. Women's Open champion Meg Mallon and features only 11 of the top 20 players on the season's money list.
Other notables competing include Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Lorena Ochoa, and Paula Creamer, who finished tied with Michelle Wie as the low amateur at the Women's Open.
Then there's Aree and Naree Song, the 18-year-old Thai-born twin sisters, who are competing together in an LPGA event for only the second time after participating in the Sybase Classic in May. Aree is a tour rookie, who ranks 20th on the money list, while Naree is a member of the Futures Tour.
There's also a 19-member Canadian contingent, led by Lorie Kane, that's attempting to end a 31-year drought since the last Canadian - Jocelyne Bourassa - won the event in its first year.
Daniel's concerns about her game come at a time when there appears to be a resurgence among the tour's more experienced players, and follows Mallon's impressive victory last weekend.
The 41-year-old Mallon discounted questions about age being an issue.
'The golf course does not know my age,' she said. 'I don't know what 41 feels like because it doesn't feel any different than when I was 28, except that I have an awful lot of history behind me.'
Daniel said she's already broached the subject of retirement to some former players, such as Donna Caponi and Judy Rankin.
'I asked them, 'When did you know?' And for every one of them it's different,' Daniel said. 'I think it will be different for me, too. I'm not really the retiring type. Just one day, I'll probably walk away and that will be it.'
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