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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are bringing modern technology to the royal and ancient game with TGL, a team-based golf league played over 15 holes that combines an oversized simulator with actual shots to a tech-infused green that can change contours depending on the shot. TGL debuts on January 9 before the Masters at the newly constructed SoFi Center in Florida.
“If you take the macro-view, we have a sport with 600 years of history and tradition that we’re now combining with technology that exists and has never been deployed in this manner,” said Mike McCarley, founder and CEO of TMRW Sports, which developed TGL.
“You combine history and credibility with a new access to golf, and I think it broadens the fan base … making golf relevant to new groups of people in new ways.”
The concept—15 holes, a mix of alternate shot and singles, the scoring system—is unlike anything else in golf. McCarley said it was developed through brainstorming involving him, Woods, McIlroy, and their management groups.
Woods favored alternate shot to bring in more strategy, particularly because the players will be wearing microphones.
As for the actual competition, it starts with a tee shot from one of two areas—35 yards away or 20 yards away from a screen that is 64 feet by 46 feet, roughly 20 times the size of a standard simulator. The ball needs to be in the air for a half-second before hitting the massive screen for all the data to register and simulate the shot.
From there, the next shot to the big screen will be played from either real fairway grass, rough, or sand, depending on the accuracy of the tee shot. Once players get within 50 yards, they play actual shots to a green complex that is larger than four basketball courts.
Top golf course designers have pitched in to help design the holes.
SoFi Center is built at Palm Beach State College in Florida, a 250,000-square-foot arena with a 75-foot-high apex. It can hold about 1,600 spectators, and the “course” is about the size of a football field.
The idea is for the matches to last about the length of a basketball game.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.