TMRW Sports -- a business venture spearheaded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy -- announced Wednesday the creation of a new technology-focused golf league in partnership with the PGA Tour. The TGL will be the latest league to try and gain a foothold in the world of golf as it aims to modernize both the viewing and playing experience for fans and players alike.
"TGL will showcase team matches fusing advanced tech and live action from a custom-built venue in primetime on Monday nights, which will complement the current PGA Tour schedule," TMRW Sports stated in its press release.
TGL will feature 18-hole events played on a virtual course across a two-hour window. The 15 regular-season matches will be contested by six three-man teams of PGA Tour golfers. Woods and McIlroy are already on board with 16 more spots to fill before the inaugural season kicks off in January 2024. No doubt those remaining roster slots will be filled rather expeditiously.
McIlroy and Mike McCarley, TMRW Sports CEO and founder, discussed the details of this new league at East Lake ahead of the 2022 Tour Championship. As it will not be played on a full golf course, TGL will utilize simulators for longer shots -- such as driver and iron swings -- before golf balls are physically placed in an arena.
"To orient yourself from a golf standpoint, you see the drives and approach shots go into the screen. It's a commercial-sized screen, not quite the size of an IMAX screen, but pretty damned close," said McCarley. "The ball will be placed in the short game area and the guys play out from there. It's six teams of three PGA Tour players, so 18 players total, and the regular season is 15 Monday night matches followed by a semifinals and finals series, and it starts in January of '24, which is 18 months away."
The commitment of additional players is not the only item unchecked on the to-do list as a venue and television television partner still need to be determined. With plenty of time until the official launch, this will just be another golf competition viewers will be able to take in.
"TGL is the next evolution within professional golf, and I am committed to helping lead it into the future. Embracing technology to create this unique environment gives us the ability to move our sport into primetime on a consistent basis alongside so many of sports' biggest events," Woods stated.
"As a big sports fan myself, I'm excited about blending golf with technology and team elements common in other sports. We all know what it's like to be in a football stadium or a basketball arena where you can watch every play, every minute of action unfold right in front of you. It's something that inherently isn't possible in traditional golf -- and an aspect of TGL that will set it apart and appeal to a new generation of fans."
TGL at a glance
- Teams: Six teams of three PGA Tour players each
- Tech-infused venues: First-of-its-kind experience for golf enabled by a data-rich, virtual course complete with a tech-infused, short-game complex
- Tech-enabled fan experience: High-energy, greenside fan experience with every shot live within a 2-hour, primetime televised match
- Schedule: 15-regular season Monday night matches followed by semifinals and finals matches, kicking off in January 2024
McIlroy added: "I have the utmost respect for the game of golf, and the TGL, while rooted in the traditions of the game, is taking a bold step into the increasingly tech-fueled future of sports. TGL will tap into the appeal of team golf within an exciting, fan-friendly environment, comparable to sitting courtside at an NBA game. TGL will widen the appeal of golf to younger and more diverse fans and serve as another avenue to introduce people to the game I love."