There will be a Boston-New York rivalry in TGL, the tech-infused golf league being fronted by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy that is scheduled to begin play in January.
New York Mets owner Steven A. Cohen is the latest sports figure to purchase a team in the league, TMRW Sports announced Thursday. TGL said the team will represent New York and will be managed by his family office, Cohen Private Ventures.
“We’re excited to partner with TMRW Sports and represent New York as a founding TGL team,” Cohen said in a statement. As golf continues to grow in popularity, there’s a demand for enhanced access to the sport and the world’s top players. TGL’s primetime schedule will offer an up-close, fast-paced, and innovative take on the sport that will appeal to traditional golf and new fans alike. We’re excited to be a part of TGL and build a team that makes New York proud.”
Cohen becomes the fourth team owner in TGL, joining Fenway Sports Group (Boston); Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank (Atlanta); and a group led by entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo (Los Angeles).
Fenway Sports Group Holdings owns the Boston Red Sox, the Premier League’s Liverpool F.C., the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team in NASCAR.
“We think New York sports fans are the greatest in the world, and I’m sure Boston thinks that theirs are too,” said Andrew B. Cohen, the chief investment officer and co-founder of Cohen Private Ventures.
TGL CEO Mike McCarley told ESPN that the league will announce two additional team owners in the coming weeks.
“These original six teams, we’re focused on large North American markets with existing fan bases, existing team ownership groups in place,” McCarley said. “There’s some natural rooting interests, some natural rivalries that exist in other sports and between the fans. So I think the ability to be able to tap into those elements that already exist from other sports is appealing.”
Steve Cohen is the CEO and chairman of Point72, a global asset management firm. He purchased about 97% of the Mets in September 2020 and is CEO and chairman of the team.
“You put something like this together and New York is obviously at the top of the list,” McCarley said. “We made a lot of calls to a lot of different ownership groups and started talking through with our existing ownership groups of who would make the most sense in which markets. And obviously, Steve continued to rise to the top. What they’ve done with the Mets in a very short period of time, and just operating that in a first-class, professional manner has got a lot of people’s attention, and frankly, that spoke volumes to us.”
Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Matt Fitzpatrick are among a dozen PGA Tour players who have committed to play in the league, which will feature teams of three players competing on a golf simulator and a separate short-game area in an arena in Palm Beach, Florida.
The matches will be televised in prime time on Monday nights. TGL is partnering with the PGA Tour, and the league’s schedule will include 15 head-to-head matches in the regular season with semifinals and a final in the postseason.
“We believe TGL is innovative, combining data, technology, a competitive team in a prime-time format,” said Andrew B. Cohen. “We think it’s going to appeal to a wide audience of golf fans, existing fans, new fans, probably some younger fans, given where golf is being played indoors and simulators and outdoors.
“I think that the fact that you’ve got the top athletes in the sport coming together to participate and support the league is unusual, and I think it speaks to the most exciting elements of the format. And then, I’d say lastly, you’ve got six teams with very prominent, strong ownership groups.”