Tiger Woods’ new golf league now has owners from NFL, MLS

arthur blank

Arthur Blank joins the Williams sisters and Fenway Sports Group as founding owners in the TGL.

Getty Images

First came Serena and Venus Williams. Next came the Fenway Sports Group, owners of Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox. Now, the newest ownership group of a team from Tiger Woods’ forthcoming golf league is tied to teams in the NFL and MLS. Enter: Arthur Blank. 

Blank, the 80-year-old founder of Home Depot, owns the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United Football Club of the MLS, and will now be the owner of an Atlanta-based team in the TMRW Sports golf league set to debut in January 2024. The announcement isn’t exactly surprising as Blank was listed as one of the initial investors in TMRW Sports, but it is timely as the PGA Tour arrives in Atlanta for its annual Tour Championship this week. 

“I see this as an investment to grow the game, deliver an innovative product to avid fans while exposing golf to new, younger audiences, and another way for us to compete for championships for Atlanta,” Blank said in a press release.

It is the third such ownership group announced in association with the TGL. The Williams sisters will own “Los Angeles Golf Club” and Fenway Sports Group will own TGL Boston. The Blank-owned entity doesn’t have an official name yet, but like the Falcons and Atlanta United, the branding will be black and red.

The CEO of the team will be Dick Sullivan, who has worked for Blank for more than two decades now. Sullivan was an executive vice president with the Falcons in the early 2000s when Blank took over control of the franchise. Sullivan then transitioned into the CEO role at PGA Tour Superstore, another one of Blank’s businesses. Also a pretty natural connection for marketing opportunities with a new golf franchise. 

“You will not walk in our stores in the future and not know about TGL. And not know about this primetime television show,” Sullivan told GOLF.com.” It’s gonna be fun. Launching something new — that’s innovative — we love. We’re entrepreneurs. I say this often — sometimes in life you can be involved in evolutionary things and make evolutionary changes. This is revolutionary. We love to do revolutionary things.”

Sullivan was in Florida Thursday to view some of the technology expected to outfit the golf arena. Construction of what he calls “stadium golf” is ongoing in Palm Beach, but he was able to witness the movement of the green that will be used to bring the golf shots from the simulator into reality right in front of the fans. The green is supported by hundreds of motorized jacks, which will work in unison to make the putting surface two- or three-tiered, providing different shapes and contours over the course of an 18-hole match.

TGL rendering
The most recent rendering of the TGL arena that is currently under construction. Courtesy photo

Part of what excited Sullivan most was a preview of the natural elements expected in the arena. Recently updated renderings of the playing area show three different sections of the teeing ground that are likely to include real grass of differing lengths to help provide as realistic of a hitting area as possible.

The “holes” players will compete on begin with shots hit into a massive screen — roughly 20 times the size of a typical simulator. Depending on where those shots end up on the virtual hole, players will then play from a respectively similar lie for their approach shots. Once inside 50 yards or so, players will then be able to play into the arena green, merging the gap between simulator and reality.

What the league isn’t expected to do is just send these pros out onto a virtual version of courses we already see them play. In other words, they will not be hitting 9-irons into a simulated 12th hole at Augusta National. TGL is farming out that corner of its competition to well-known course designers to create something that should challenge some of the best players in the world.

With just five months remaining before the league is expected to launch, and with team match play on everyone’s mind during a Ryder Cup year, further announcements about founding franchises are expected in the next two months. As for Blank, his net worth comes out to an estimated $7.9 billion, which is another way of saying he could invest wherever and whenever he pleases. So, why does he want in on an upstart franchise in a mixed-platform golf league? 

“We think we can add value to the PGA Tour Superstore and across our portfolio of all our businesses,” Sullivan said. “This is the same with our other sports teams. We intend to compete for championships in Atlanta.”

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Sean Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just published his first book, which follows his travels in Scotland during the most pivotal summer in the game’s history.

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