Since the Ryder Cup ended, much of the news in the golf world has been zeroed in on TGL, the simulator golf league that's the brainchild of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. On Monday, McIlroy made the rounds as part of the Boston Common team, doing a media blitz and answering all kinds of questions about the vision for this league. The comparison he made to another popular indoor sport in the U.S. was interesting.
"I think when it's been branded as simulator golf that does it a bit of disservice. It's going to be a lot more than that. As Tom said, we're trying to bring golf into the 21st century. I think a lot of people will connect with the fact that we're playing indoors. It'll look nothing like traditional golf. It'll look more like an NBA game hopefully. Sort of trying to give people in the arena that court side experience."
This is actually easy to envision based on the parameters and concepts we know about thus far. Golfers will participate in a 2,000-person arena that will feature a massive screen 20x larger than a traditional simulator, real grass to hit off of, fairway surfaces and real sand. For short game, the green will change slope to simulate whichever hole is being played.
.@SoFi is now the presenting sponsor of @TGL— Sportico (@Sportico) October 3, 2023
This is the first commercial partner for the league owned by @TigerWoods and @McIlroyRory.
They also released plans for a 250,000-square-foot venue that will seat 2,000 within the Palm Beach Gardens Campus of Palm Beach State… pic.twitter.com/bT40JY2GFf
It remains to be seen whether this will truly be an NBA-like experience, but certainly some of the key elements -- fan intimacy, close-up shots of the action and a product made for television -- lead one to believe that this is at least feasible given the star power behind (and playing in) this league.
"We feel very strongly that this is a terrific idea," said chairman of Fenway Group, Tom Werner. "It's innovative. It fuses traditional golf with simulated golf. One of the things I learned during this process is that as many people played indoor golf this last year as traditional grass golf."
Fenway Group owns the Boston Common team and is reportedly an investor in the league.
In addition to all of that, TGL announced on Monday that it will implement a 40-second shot clock. This is not necessarily groundbreaking news -- the PGA Tour has a theoretical shot clock as well -- but the strict nature of this shot clock (a one-stroke penalty) should be a bit different than most golf on TV and should help maintain momentum during TGL matches.
One other thing we learned on Monday is that the league, which currently features five teams and 23 players following Jon Rahm's exit from participation late last week, will be completed by March before the major championship season. It also appears that there will be a sixth team out of Florida, which is presumed to include Tiger Woods as captain.