Shane Lowry missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs last season not because he played poorly but because he did not play enough on the PGA Tour.
The Irishman played in only 18 events, missed the cut just three times, and yet, he finished 78th in the FedEx Cup rankings—missing out on the postseason by eight spots.
He is changing that approach in 2024, as he began his season last week at The American Express, where he missed the cut. That means he took home zero dollars and received zero FedEx Cup points.
“[Over] the last few years, I started my season in Europe,” Lowry explained.
“Obviously, this year I made the decision to come [to San Diego], play a little bit on the West Coast, try and [earn] some much-needed FedExCup points because it’s going to be a quick season this year.”
For the first time since 2013, the PGA Tour switched back to a calendar-based schedule. The season began with The Sentry in Kapalua during the first full week of January. It will conclude Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, where a revitalized East Lake Golf Club will host the Tour Championship.
Alas, Lowry, who made his PGA Tour season debut in mid-February last year, carded a 6-under 66 on the North Course at Torrey Pines Wednesday. He bounced back after a tough start to his 2024 campaign.
“I just enjoyed myself out there,” Lowry said.
“I made a couple of sloppy bogeys, but after that, I felt like I played some lovely golf on the way in, hit some lovely shots, and kind of rolled in the putts I needed.”
The 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year began the day with a birdie, but he then coughed up a couple of shots on his opening nine.
Having started on the back side, Lowry made the turn just below par, shooting a 1-under 35 on the inward nine. But he then bogeyed the 1st, and suddenly, he was right back where he started.
“I was just lost in my mind,” Lowry said of his opening 10-hole stretch.
Whatever was lost was quickly re-discovered.
The 36-year-old from County Offaly birdied six of his last eight, vaulting him up the leaderboard and squarely into the mix at Torrey Pines.
He now sits two strokes behind Kevin Yu of Taipei, who had a birdie-free 8-under 64 to open the Farmers Insurance Open.
But Lowry, after a rusty start, regained his composure and settled in on a course he loves.
“I love the West Coast of America; I love coming over here and playing. This has always been one of my favorite stops,” Lowry said.
He should feel satisfied knowing that a good round on Thursday will allow him to secure valuable FedEx Cup points. And knowing the schedule is now shorter than in years past, those points have become much more valuable.
Hopefully, Lowry’s change in approach affords him a playoff berth and the influx of cash that comes with it.