Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are the two biggest names in golf, and they have asserted themselves as such over the last two weeks by leading their peers in an effort to reshape the future of the sport. On Tuesday, the duo — who have combined to win 19 major championships — announced the formation of TMRW Sports, a technology-focused startup company that will feature “progressive approaches to sports, media and entertainment.”
“”So many athletes, entertainers, and people I meet from all walks of life share our passion for sports, but they also share our desire to build a better future for the next generation of sports fans,” Woods said in a statement. “Together, we can harness technology to bring fresh approaches to the sports we love.”
Mike McCarley, a former president at NBC Sports, will serve as CEO and is a third co-founder.
“By joining forces with Tiger, Mike, and other TMRW Sports partners, we can shape the way that media and technology improve the sports experience,” McIlroy said. “In a world where technology provides us with so many choices for using our time, we want to make sports more accessible for as many people as possible.”
That’s a lot of corporate speak, but we already have an example of how it might play out in the world of golf and with the future of the PGA Tour. Woods and McIlroy have begun planning a series of one-day events away from the golf course to be played in stadiums with a focus on technology, as Golfweek reported Sunday. It’s easy now to see how TMRW Sports could be at the epicenter of these endeavors.
The one-day events are designed to complement the PGA Tour schedule and will launch in 2024, according to multiple sources familiar with the concept. Early thinking suggests the showdowns — which will be technology-forward and staged with a live audience — could run January through March, with a finale held later. Discussions about broadcast and gaming partners are underway. A source at NBC Sports says the network has an option to be the media partner in the venture.
Details about the plan were shared with Tour members who attended the players-only meeting held on August 16 during the BMW Championship, for which Woods made a special trip from his home in Florida. It was presented as a long-term opportunity for players to build equity in the enterprise, which will have private funding in addition to corporate partnerships and sponsors. The proposal was received positively among players in the room, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
This coincides with a players-only meeting Woods and McIlroy spearheaded last week in Delaware at the BMW Championship where the duo helped cast a vision for what the future of the PGA Tour may look like. As two of the three or four most successful PGA Tour players of the last quarter-century, Woods and McIlroy have earned the right to take some ownership in the world of golf at this present tenuous moment, and they’re clearly embracing their leadership roles.
There is also money to be made in the process of it all. Both Woods and McIlroy are invested in numerous companies that are either affiliated with or adjacent to the PGA Tour’s business interests, apparently including TMRW Sports, which it seems will likely either host, run or host and run these future one-off events.
This is a good thing for the PGA Tour. When the two most recognizable, famous and perhaps successful golfers of this century are rallying the troops for your organization — and also building companies to put behind it — you have a lot to gain and a future that’s bright. The PGA Tour should be encouraged by how the last few weeks have gone and that the era of Tiger and Rory taking immense ownership of both the PGA Tour and of golf itself has officially begun.