ATLANTA, GEORGIA | The notion of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy together in a business venture is attention-grabbing on its own.
What they are doing – along with former Golf Channel boss Mike McCarley and the PGA Tour – may be equally eye-catching.
The Woods-McIlroy venture, known as TMRW Sports (think tomorrow), is intent on taking golf in a new direction, creating a tech-driven team competition featuring 18 of the PGA Tour’s top stars beginning in 2024.
This is not a sudden reaction to the team concept that is part of LIV Golf’s new league. The Woods-McIlroy initiative has been in the works for approximately two years, with its timetable slowed by Woods’ recovery from injuries suffered in an auto accident last year.
On the same day commissioner Jay Monahan announced sweeping changes to the PGA Tour’s structure, details of what the TGL will be were made public, bringing some clarity to a new-age concept.
“This is a tech-infused team competition in front of a live crowd, in front of a live television audience. It’s 18 holes in two hours. We’ve been working together on this for nearly two years, and every time we talked about it, it was always … going to be a complementary project to the PGA Tour,” said McCarley, founder and CEO of TMRW Sports.
What does that mean?
“I think when someone comes to you and says, ‘I’ve got something to show you; I think it’ll be really cool; it’ll enhance the fan experience; it’ll be additive and complementary to the PGA Tour season, oh, and by the way, Tiger Woods is involved,’ it’s like, yeah, I think that would be pretty cool.” – Rory McIlroy
Let’s start with Woods and McIlroy, the two biggest names in the game today. Both are invested in golf-related concepts (Woods with PopStroke, among others, and McIlroy with Puttery) and this initiative gives them a shared business venture.
“I think when someone comes to you and says, ‘I’ve got something to show you; I think it’ll be really cool; it’ll enhance the fan experience; it’ll be additive and complementary to the PGA Tour season, oh, and by the way, Tiger Woods is involved,’ it’s like, yeah, I think that would be pretty cool,” McIlroy said.
In a press release, Woods called TGL “the next evolution within professional golf, and I am committed to helping lead it into the future.”
TGL is expected to be the first of multiple collaborations through their new business, and it is designed to widen the golf landscape.
Here’s how it will work:
There will be six three-player teams (McIlroy will be part of one, Woods part of another), and they will play a series of matches against one another beginning in early 2024. Each team will play the other five teams, leading toward semifinal and final matchups.
The twist is that these events will be played in a unique stadium, created solely for these events, with seating for perhaps 1,500 spectators.
The competition will have players hitting full shots into an enormous screen – imagine an oversized simulator – then playing their short shots and putting on an artificial green with changing contours and other features, all of it encircled by spectators.
Start to finish, the matches will take approximately two hours to complete. The format eliminates the long walks between shots and, for Woods in particular, the physical demands are reduced.
“A 300-yard drive, 300-plus-yard drive is a 2½-minute walk,” McCarley said. “On television, you go to commercial, you show our players. This, it’s a 10-foot walk over to the bench area. You grab your next club, you come back, you hit your next shot.”
The matches will be played on Monday nights at a yet-to-be-determined site with full broadcast coverage. TMRW Sports has not finalized a broadcast partner, and McCarley said those discussions will begin next week.
“This is a league, this is a series, that is something that people can get invested in and follow along,” McIlroy said.
There will also be a purse as part of the competition. Exactly how big a purse remains to be seen.
“Rough terms, I see the terms ‘boatload’ and ‘truckload’ being thrown around a lot lately. Maybe it’ll be in between those two, but we’ll announce the purse as we get a little bit closer to the start date,” McCarley said.
Woods and McIlroy presented the concept to players in a private meeting last week before the BMW Championship in Delaware.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for PGA Tour players to show a different side of themselves primetime on Monday night,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s great for brand exposure to try to engage a different audience. We’ve all heard about the fact of how old the golf audience is, trying to get younger eyeballs on to it.
“I just think it’s going to be a really cool concept. Tiger and I are incredibly excited. We shared this vision with the room of players last week in Wilmington. Some of those players were already involved. It’s just, I guess, another prong to what the PGA Tour are trying to do to push the tour forward, and there was so much excitement in the room with that, as well.
“It’ll be partly owned by the players, this league, so players can get equity in this league, as well. It’s awesome. I think it’s great for everyone involved – fans, TV, players, the tour in general.”
Top: Woods and McIlroy present a powerful coupling, and their high-tech league could be game-changing. Photo: Oisin Keniry, R&A via Getty Images
© 2022 Global Golf Post LLC
Support premium quality golf journalism.
Subscribe for $48 annually (20% off)
Click here and use coupon code GGP48
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Tell us how we can improve this post?