Tiger Woods ‘Would Be The Hardest One To Convince’ Over TPC Sawgrass Exemption - Jay Monahan

Jay Monahan thinks Tiger Woods would be reluctant to the idea of creating a special exemption category for The Players Championship

Jay Monahan and Tiger Woods before the 2023 Genesis Invitational
Jay Monahan doesn't think Woods would accept the creation of a special exemption category to The Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan feels Tiger Woods would need some convincing on any idea to offer a Players Championship exemption to a former winner of the event who’s not otherwise eligible.

There is a danger that could soon apply to Woods. The two-time Players Champion is not in the field for this week’s event despite having the option of competing thanks to his 2019 Masters win. 

That handed him a five-year exemption, but after this year it will no longer apply, meaning he would need to find another way to qualify, with options including winning a PGA Tour event, picking up a 16th Major title, or finishing in the top 125 of the previous season’s FedEx Cup points list.

Despite the possibility of the 48-year-old benefitting from a new category, though, that’s not something Monahan thinks Woods, who is a Player Director on the PGA Tour’s Policy Board, would be quick to agree to. He said: “I think you all know Tiger well enough to know that he wants to earn his way into all of - into every competition. That's his makeup.”

Tiger Woods with the 2013 Players Championship trophy

Tiger Woods last won The Players Championship 11 years ago

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even with potential reservations from the 15-time Major winner, Monahan didn’t want to completely close the door on the idea, although he reiterated that the biggest stumbling block would likely be Woods.

He continued: “I think as you go forward and as you evolve as an organization and you think about how do you serve and satisfy a rabid fan base, those discussions more broadly would likely be held at the Policy Board meeting, and I'm sure we would have that discussion. But he would be the hardest one to convince.”

Despite Woods' most recent appearance at the TPC Sawgrass event coming in 2019, it had been anticipated that he would play this year as he stepped up preparations to compete at April's Masters. However, those hopes were dashed when he wasn’t listed in the 144-player field, with no reason given for his decision to skip the event.

Woods’ most recent PGA Tour appearance came at the Genesis Invitational in February, but it ended in disappointment when he withdrew during the second round because of illness. The American, who underwent a subtalar fusion procedure on his right ankle last April, then played at the Seminole Pro-Member earlier in the month.

It now appears unlikely Woods will play again before The Masters. Whether we will see him at future editions of The Players Championship also appears uncertain, and, according to Monahan, that's how he would prefer it.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.