Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have started a new venture to combat LIV Golf – but what is the TGL golf league?
The PGA Tour announced an abundance of new initiatives towards the end of the 2022 season to persuade its best players to stay put on the circuit and one of them was TGL Golf.
The concept was masterminded by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and their company TMRW Sports as the major-winning pair continue their pioneering plans to improve the PGA Tour product.
The new interactive golf league launched a partnership with the PGA Tour which is set to provide the ultimate fan experience with an interactive, technology-inspired experience never seen before in the sport.
So what do you want to know? Let’s dive in…
What is the TGL League?
TGL is a tech-infused golf league that will show team matches in a custom-built arena in America. Each event will complement the PGA Tour schedule as part of the partnership.
TGL has been described as a “first-of-its-kind experience” as fans will be able to spectate in an up-close-and-personal fashion at a virtual course with a short-game complex.
The new league was founded in August 2022, in the same month that Woods, McIlroy and former NBC golf executive Mike McCarley formed TMRW Sports, a company that is focused on producing technology-based ventures in the world of sports and entertainment.
What does TGL stand for?
TGL stands for Tomorrow’s Golf League. The name comes from TMRW Sports – the company behind the new initiative founded by Woods, McIlroy and McCarley.
When will TGL arrive on our screens?
The TGL season was meant to kick off on January 9, 2024, in the primetime televised slot.
But on November 20, it was announced that TGL Golf would be delayed until 2025 due to structural damage to the dome in Florida.
When the league does start after its year-long delay, every shot will be shown and each match will last two hours.
It was announced on October 5 2023 that TGL and ESPN signed a multi-year partnership to make ESPN the home of the matches in the States.
Programming is set to come across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+. ABC was meant to air a TGL presented by SoFi preview show on December 30 – but the delay could now set this back.
Where will TGL Golf be held?
The SoFi Centre in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida will hold the series. It can hold approximately 1,600 people on match nights.
The course used by TGL will be a 97 by 50-yard area which is roughly the size of a football field.
Players will play from grass tee boxes, fairways, rough, and sand into a 64 by 46-foot screen for their tee shots and approaches. The screen is roughly 20 times the size of a standard simulator.
For shots within 50 yards, the players will transition from Screenplay to Greenplay to a custom-built complex referred to as the “Green Zone”.
This is bigger than four basketball courts and will feature the largest-ever adaptable putting surface built.
The 3,800 square-foot tech-infused green includes three 15 by 27-foot virtual greens each with 189 actuators and jacks that change the slope of the green creating a variety of play on every TGL hole.
What is the format of TGL?
There will be six teams of four PGA Tour players. There will be 15 regular season matches which will be followed by semi-finals and finals.
Each TGL match will feature three players competing for each team in a modern match-play format.
The format can be read into three key parts:
Modern Match Play:
Each hole has a value of 1 point and the team with the fewest shots on a hole wins the point. Ties are worth 0 points and there are no carryovers.
Within a match, there will be two sessions played in two different formats:
Session 1 – 9 holes of “Triples” – Three vs. three, team alternate-shot format.
Session 2 – 6 holes of “Singles” – One-on-one, head-to-head competition, with each player playing two holes during the session.
Overtime – If tied at the end of regulation, similar to a soccer penalty shootout, players compete head-to-head until a team successfully hits two shots closer to the pin than their competitors.
Regular Season Point System:
Similar to professional hockey, TGL will use a points-based system for regular season matches.
For each match, teams can be awarded up to 2 points towards their regular-season total based on the following:
Win in Regulation – 2 points
Win in Overtime – 2 points
Loss in Overtime – 1 point
Loss in Regulation – 1 point
The top 4 teams will advance to the playoffs which will include single-elimination semifinals and a “best-of-three” Championship Series.
More competitive elements have been added to the TGL Golf format, including a shot clock, timeouts and a referee – all of which are summarised below.
The shot clock will display a countdown of 40 seconds in which each player must hit their shot, or their team will receive a shot clock violation and incur a one-stroke penalty.
The 40-second timeframe is based on a former USGA Local Rule and a current USGA Recommendation on pace of play.
Each team will have a total of four timeouts per match with two timeouts per each of the two sessions.
Timeouts not used during the first session will not carry over to the second session. For the team that is playing their shot, timeouts may be called at any point until the shot clock expires.
The opposing team may call a timeout until the other team’s player has addressed the ball.
A member of the team will signal or verbally call a timeout to the referee, who will acknowledge the call.
A team cannot call back-to-back timeouts while on the current shot. They must wait until the shot is hit following a timeout before calling a second timeout
A referee with experience with timeouts, shot clocks, and the dynamics of team sports will be on the course to administer TGL’s rules and unique situations.
Additionally, a booth official, who is an expert in the rules of golf, will be monitoring the action.
TGL’s rules will be rooted in the traditional rules of golf played on the PGA Tour, as well as inherent local rules needed for the league’s unique competition format, technology, and venue.
Who is signed up to the TGL league?
Woods and McIlroy were the first two names on the start sheet as the co-founders of the concept.
Former US Open winner Jon Rahm and two-time major champion Justin Thomas, a close friend of Woods, were the first two players to sign on the dotted line. They were followed by two more major trophy-holders Collin Morikawa and Adam Scott.
It has now been confirmed that Jon Rahm will NOT play in TGL.
Reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick was announced in January, with Max Homa and Billy Horschel added to the roster soon after.
During the week of the Genesis Invitational, Olympic gold medalists Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele became the newest recruits.
Six-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler is also on the TGL roster.
On October 5, three new names from the successful 2023 European Ryder Cup team were announced.
Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, and Tyrrell Hatton were confirmed as part of TGL, as well as the young PGA Tour star Tom Kim.
Six-time PGA Tour winner Keegan Bradley has joined the line-up, as well as Cameron Young. This pair missed out on the 2023 US Ryder Cup team selection.
Recent Fortinet Championship winner Sahith Theegala has also been called up to the TGL club.
On October 17, TGL announced that five new stars would be joining the golf league.
Fresh from his third career victory in Macau, Min Woo Loo was announced alongside PGA Tour players Kevin Kisner and Lucas Glover.
After the ‘hatgate’ storm at the Ryder Cup, Patrick Cantlay was announced by the league with fellow Team USA teammate, and US Open champion, Wyndham Clark also signing up.
What teams are there?
So far, five of the six teams have been unveiled. Before each match, the two competing teams will name three participants and every player will wear a microphone.
All names, brands and staff will be unveiled in due course, as well as the final of the six teams.
Atlanta Drive GC (Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel, Lucas Glover)
Boston Common Golf (Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott)
Los Angeles Golf Club (Collin Morikawa, Sahith Theegala, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood)
TGL New York
TGL San Francisco
Jupiter Links Golf Club (Tiger Woods)
Why has TGL Golf been started?
When TGL was launched, Woods and McIlroy both spoke of taking the game into the future and delivering the sport on primetime for the next generation to sit up and take notice.
It will be a unique viewing experience for fans who attend and those at home too. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan spoke of attracting a broader audience to the sport and its players as well.
The PGA Tour has increased its efforts to nail its best players to the mast and TGL is an example of this.
This is because the resolve of some tour players has been severely tested by LIV Golf and as we have seen, many of the game’s most recognisable players have been lured by the millions on offer from the Saudi-backed league.
As much as TGL is seen as a shiny new show featuring your favourite players, it could also be seen as a strategy that prevents the best players from hopping to the other side of the fence.
Do you think TGL will be a success? Tweet us and let us know!