Ever since LIV Golf was launched in October 2021, it feels as if the PGA tour has been under siege.
A trickle of well-known golfers have continued to announce their departures to the new Saudi-backed competition, with further speculation over who would be next.
There has been infighting, legal threats amongst other controversies, adding up to a sense of doom regarding the tour and a bitter civil war within the sport.
But on Wednesday, after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had explained several radical changes for the 2023 season, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods announced the formation of the TGL, a new golf league that will be created as a supplement to the PGA Tour.
TGL has been formed by McIlroy and Woods’s new company, TMRW sports, and is set to kick off in January 2024.
What is it?
The new league was revealed by McIlroy and media executive Mike McCarley at a press conference on Wednesday and the pair described the TGL as a ‘tech-infused league’ to be played at a brand-new, custom-built stadium.
It has been marketed as a ‘Monday night golf’, with games set to take place on Monday evenings from January 2024.
McIlroy and Woods are the first two players to commit but it will be a team golf event, with 18 players split into six three-man teams.
The different teams will then go head-to-head in a league format over the course of 15 Monday nights throughout the season, each playing five matches and just one fixture every week.
After the regular season, there will be semi-finals and then a final where a winning team will be crowned.The desire is for the arena to have a boisterous atmosphere, with plenty of noise expected from the fans.
Each match will only last two hours, with players playing 18 holes in a fast-paced format, designed to increase participation and interest in the sport.
Further details are yet to be ironed out, with these expected to be announced nearer the run-up to the league beginning.
The new league is intended as an extra supplement to the PGA Tour and also an opportunity for the professionals to increase their profiles and make some extra money.
The specifics regarding finances haven’t been confirmed yet, while there is no TV contract in place.
However, McCarley, who was announced as the CEO of TMRW Sports, and therefore the TGL, explained that there had already been interest from various partners to broadcast the new format.
When pressed on the prize money involved, he confirmed there was no amounts set yet, but expected it to be generous.
He said: ‘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.’
What did Woods and McIlroy say?
Both legendary players seemed extremely excited by their new creation.
Speaking at the launch of the new event Tiger Woods said: ‘TGL is the next evolution within professional golf. I’m excited to help lead it into the future.
‘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.’
McIlroy meanwhile highlighted the potential benefits of the tournament in allowing fans to see more of their golfing heroes, especially Woods, who has struggled with injury in recent years.
The Northern Irishman explained: ‘Who knows where we’re going to see Tiger Woods play golf next, right?
‘We don’t know what his schedule is going to be. We don’t know how his body is going to be.
‘But to be able to see him still showcase his skills on primetime, on TV without really any wear and tear on his body, I think to be able to see Tiger hit golf shots and still sort of provide people with a glimpse of his genius, I think it is a really good use of his time.’
What makes it different?
McIlroy revealed that he discussed the new league at last week’s PGA Tour players meeting and explained it was something he, Woods and McCarley had been working on for two years.
This suggests that it is not in reaction to LIV Golf as many would suggest, but the new breakaway competition from the tour has no doubt accelerated matters, and the league is a reaction to the challenges that provides.
It is supposed to be a much quicker form of golf, and perhaps comparisons could be made in terms of what T20 cricket is to Test matches.
The competition will also hopefully provide fans with a unique experience while watching golf with an aim for them to be able to see all the action unfolding.
McCarley compared it to the experience for supporters while watching basketball.
He said: ‘For the fans, think sitting courtside at an NBA game. It’s that type of environment, music, player introductions. You’re right on top of the action as a fan. You see everything play out in front of you.’
The technology aspect of the competition is a real focus for the three founders and Woods explained that the hope is it will boost the longevity of golf in the long-run.
He explained: ‘(We are) embracing technology to create this unique environment that gives us the ability to move our sport into primetime on a consistent basis alongside so many of sports’ biggest events.’
Source : Daily Mail