Golf-Woods and McIlroy’s virtual golf league to launch Jan. 7

By Thomson Reuters Mar 25, 2024 | 1:07 PM

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s simulator golf league will launch in January 2025, one year after it was initially set to begin until a roof collapse at the Florida-based facility housing the league caused a delay, organisers of the TGL said on Monday.

The TGL, which features six teams of four PGA Tour players competing in a fast-paced form of team golf, will debut Jan. 7 in primetime on ESPN inside a new steel-supported structure that was unveiled along with Monday’s announcement.

The next two matches will be played Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, which organisers feel will allow TGL to benefit from promotion during ESPN’s coverage of both the National Football League and U.S. college football playoffs.

TGL is run by TMRW Sports, a tech-focused sports company that was established by Woods and McIlroy in 2022. Both Woods and McIlroy, two of golf’s most popular players, have agreed to compete in the TGL.

“January is a tremendous time of year for fans looking for prime time sports and TGL’s launch will complement the start of the PGA Tour season and take advantage of ESPN’s promotional machine across their coverage of the NFL and college football playoffs,” TMRW CEO Mike McCarley said in a news release.

The venue for TGL, constructed on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens, features 1,500 seats around a field of play that is almost the size of an American football field.

Golfers will tee off from real grass tee boxes to play custom-designed, virtual holes that will be projected on a massive screen. Once teams are inside approximately 50 yards they will transition to live action and finish each hole on a short game complex that transforms between holes.

The GreenZone will use technology to make each hole unique and includes a 41-yard-wide turntable that rotates the green and bunkers to change approach angles, while motorized actuators embedded under the putting surface can morph its topography.

Two months before its initial January 2024 launch date, a power outage caused deflation and damage to the air-supported dome section of the TGL venue.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)