Tour boss forced to defend absence of Woods & Lowry

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 19: Shane Lowry of Ireland celebrates a putt on the tenth green during the second round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 19, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

This week’s PGA Tour season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta has drawn more controversy with Commissioner Jay Monahan having to defend the absence of two of the four Major Champions of 2019 – Tiger Woods and Shane Lowry.

Woods emotionally ended an 11-year Major drought in capturing the Masters while Lowry delivered the Emerald Isle a fairytale ending in winning the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

But neither Woods, the winner of last year’s Tour Championship, nor Lowry qualified for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

In fact, Woods ended his season 42nd on the FedEx Cup standings while Lowry was ranked 20th, 10 spots inside the magical top-30 heading into the Northern Trust before ending his season officially ranked 33rd.

And while there had been also controversy of the winners of the Northern Trust and BMW Championship earning more FedEx Cup points than either Woods and Lowry along with the other two 2019 Major winners in Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland, Monahan explained that is the nature of the Tour Championship rules even though he’d rather personally see them in the field.

“I want to emphasise the fact that what Tiger and Shane did this year, those are two of the greatest stories of the year. So would you want them here? 1,000%,” Monahan explained.

“But you look at every other sport and their playoff format, and you’ll have top teams that fall out early.

“You’ll have some things that you may not have predicted, particularly at the moment when they won those two big events.

“You’ve got to play exceedingly well over the course of an entire season, and, with volatility, there’s risk.”