How much money will TGL players make? Here’s what we know 

Tiger Woods, Rory Mcilroy, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas

TGL players will be competing for their share of a $21 million purse in the league's first season.

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We are two months away from the start of TGL, the new mixed-reality, Tiger Woods- and Rory McIlroy-backed golf league that will feature 24 PGA Tour players playing inside a South Florida arena on Monday and Tuesday nights. 

It’s going to be different, no doubt. Too different? We’ll have to wait and see. But one thing that fans will always wonder when watching golf on their televisions — be it the Masters or in SoFi Center — is…So, what are they playing for?

Truth is, you don’t assemble the best players in the world and biggest names in golf for peanuts. So…what are the stakes? 

According to Mike McCarley, the CEO of TMRW Sports and the man who initially sold Tiger Woods on the concept 2.5 years ago, the purse for the entirety of Season 1 is will be $21 million, he said on an appearance on the Marchand and Ourand Podcast,. That may seem on the low end, considering the Players Championship purse is $25 million on its own. But for many of the people involved, this is as low-lift as possible for making some dough: hitting balls into a simulator with friends and just hanging out on a Monday night. 

The winning team, according to McCarley, will take home $9 million at the end of the season. Split four ways, that’s a $2.25 million payout for each member of the team. The league will have six teams playing a round-robin schedule before four teams advance to the semifinals. So, for those not doing the math at home, the winning team will play five matches to advance to the playoffs and then two matches to win the championship. Considering that each team only needs to field three of its four players each night, we’re likely talking about a $2.25 million payout for players on the winning team on what would likely be a 6-night commitment. Not bad. 

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It pales in comparison, of course, to some of the riches of LIV Golf, but the commitment required from TGL players is a polar opposite to LIV as well. The TGL hired PGA Tour exec Ross Berlin to intake all the players’ schedules and craft a calendar that will keep the cross-country Monday flights to a minimum. As a result, the league kicks off on Jan. 9 and will wrap up by the end of March. You can expect Tiger Woods to play at least five times, as his commute from his Jupiter Island home will be as short as any.

In a deep-dive feature about TGL this week, Wired reported another way in which pros taking part can derive value from their involvement with the upstart league. Explaining the original pitch that was made to Tiger Woods and other investors, 54% of TGL would be owned by McCarley’s company TMRW Sports, 18% by the PGA Tour (who bought in), 18% by team owners (like Arthur Blank, Steve Cohen, etc.) and the remaining 10% would be player equity.

That last bit is a little tricky to understand, and perhaps purposefully so. Woods and McIlroy have already invested in TMRW Sports — along with a laundry list of stars from the sports and entertainment worlds — and Woods himself has maintained a partial ownership of his own TGL team, Jupiter Links GC. But it is unclear if every TGL player would get their own share — or even an equal share — of that 10% equity stake. (TGL did not immediately confirm if the figures from the Wired story have remained in place.) For instance, there are currently 23 players signed on now that Jon Rahm recently pulled out, keeping the league one short of their goal of 24. They are bound to announce player 24 soon, but would No. 24 get the same stake as, say, Justin Thomas? It remains unclear. Twenty-four is already six players more than the initial total of 18 that the league promised as recently as a few months ago. 

Could the league grow next year? Absolutely. Could players move in to the league as others depart? Definitely. Could TGL’s future look incredibly different should the PGA Tour and the Saudi PIF come to terms on an agreeement? Everything and anything seems possible.

What we know for sure is $21 million is on the line when TGL begins in January.

Sean Zak Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.

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