What will golf in the 23rd century look like?
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy broke ground this past week for a stadium-like facility that will host their “TMRW” — golf concept.
The ceremonial groundbreaking took place with Tiger and Rory presenting a check to Palm Beach State College for a cool million bucks while the outliers on the PGA Tour were practicing not too far away for the Honda Classic.
Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth is formerly Palm Beach Community College. It had a nice slug of vacant land available — perfect for this high tech golf league of the future.
TMRW (pronounced “tomorrow) will be headquartered on the campus and the indoor facility will be ready for play to begin next year.
The arena will host a league and this Woods/McIlroy venture was formed in partnership with the PGA Tour. Of course Tiger is the longtime face of the Tour and Rory has stepped up in his role as Defender Of The Faith in the ongoing controversy with the LIV Golf Circus.
Play at the arena on the PBSC campus should begin in early 2024 and players committed to the league include world No. 1 Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele.
That’s a list with six players in the world’s top 10. “In terms of fan experience, it’s going to be nothing like golf has offered before,” McIlroy said.
This new high-tech, indoor league will be played on Monday nights and will take only two hours of prime time on television. Fans will all be very close to the action. There will be a series of 15 matches in the league’s regular season followed by a semi-final and final playoff.
There will be six teams with three Tour players per team. And no, they won’t have those goshawful names like the LIV Circus.
What the arena will include is a short-game complex for chipping and putting after players hit drives and approach shots into a huge, high-tech simulator.
“We’re going to have excitement, we’re going to have something different, something that is is passionate,” Woods said. “We’ve been involved in teams before whether it’s Ryder Cup, President’s Cup, Irish national teams, for me high school, college, whatever it is. You’re going to get home and away, you’re going to get some people that you want to win and not win. We’re going to have that type of excitement.”
Oh and yes, there will be betting.
“Wagering is part of our sport, part of our culture,” Woods said, then turned and looked at McIlroy. “We don’t know how to play golf without it.”
It is supposed to be an intimate fan experience and for the telecast, players will be mic’d-up on all shots. Obviously Tiger will have to watch his language, or perhaps the network will have a five-second delay button.
“It’s going to give the viewer at home and also the people in the arena just more of an in-depth of sort of how we do things and how we sort of think through things in our head,” McIlroy said. “It’s just a more in-depth look into that.”
Golf Channel president Mike McCarley is one of the TMRW co-founders and he said the arena will sit on a 10-acre parcel. The TMRW partnership will also have educational and recreational initiatives the will benefit Palm Beach State College students. The initiative will also offer select students paid internships nd other opportunities in technology, hospitality and other administrative-type opportunities.
Mike McCarley, another co-founder and former Golf Channel president, said the arena will be built on a 10-acre (435,600-square feet) parcel of unused land. The partnership includes educational and recreational initiatives that will benefit Palm Beach State students, along with offering paid internships and other opportunities for students in technology, hospitality and administrative services.
“Think about how cool this will be for this land, this campus, to become a launching pad for future leaders in sports and media and technology as they learn here as part of TGL,” McCarley said. “We are breaking ground on much more than a dream, much more than a prime-time golf league.”
What it may be a glimpse of, is the future of off-site golf.
And the entire venture sounds really, really cool.