By Jack Bantock, CNN
(CNN) — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s high-tech indoor golf venture, the TGL, has been delayed by a year after the inflatable dome of its custom-built Florida venue deflated, organizers announced Monday.
The televised league featuring many of the PGA Tour’s top players had been set to tee off on January 9, but will now be postponed until early 2025 due to damages at SoFi Center, a 250,000 square foot arena at Palm Beach State College.
Deflation was caused by “a failure of the temporary power system and backup systems used during construction” on November 14, damaging the air-supported dome section of the 1,600-capacity venue, the TGL said in a statement. No injuries were sustained and “most” of the technology was not impacted, it added.
Organizers said the league’s 24 players, six team ownership groups and other key partners, including the PGA Tour, had been consulted ahead of the postponement.
“This decision came after reviewing short-term solutions, potential construction timelines, player schedules, and the primetime sports television calendar,” the statement said.
“We have begun to update plans and timelines and are confident that the extension will only improve our delivery.”
The venture is the brainchild of TMRW Sports, a company co-founded by Woods and McIlroy. Both players are set to compete in the league, for Jupiter Links Golf Club and Boston Common Golf respectively.
“I’ve been a believer in TGL, and as the momentum has built this past year, I’m even more excited about what this can become for fans of the game all around the world,” Woods, who is set to make his first competitive appearance since April later this month, said in a press release.
“Although the events of last week will force us to make adjustments to our timelines, I’m fully confident that this concept will be brought to life by our great committed players.”
McIlroy added: “The postponement brings mixed feelings of disappointment and excitement. Above all, we are happy that no one was injured.
“We are looking forward to the launch of TGL. Given the circumstances, while the delay is disappointing, the postponement will allow us to regroup, refocus and return stronger.”
What is the TGL?
First announced in August 2022, the TGL aims to attract a younger audience to golf.
Six mic’d up teams – each formed of four PGA Tour stars – compete at the SoFi Center, playing on a 97 by 50 yard course area. Players shoot tee and approach shots into a 64 by 46 foot screen before moving to a “tech-infused” short game complex – the “Green Zone” – for shots within 50 yards of the hole.
The “Green Zone” includes three virtual greens that can be mechanically altered via 189 actuators and jacks, allowing organizers to change the slope on each hole.
Broadcast on ESPN, a 15-match regular season culminates in playoffs to crown the overall winner.
Each team represents a different US city, state or town; Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Jupiter.
The presence of McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa and Wyndham Clark means six of the world’s current top-10 ranked men’s players are signed up. World No. 2 Jon Rahm had been included on the initial roster but withdrew earlier in November.
“While I still think it’s a great opportunity, right now it would require a level of commitment that I can’t offer,” Rahm said in a November 2 post on X.
“Best of luck to everyone (involved) and may the best team win!”
Big names from across the sporting world feature in the six teams’ respective ownership groups.
Los Angeles Golf Club’s leadership includes tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams, two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry is involved with the San Francisco team, while Boston Common Golf is led by Fenway Sports Group, who own the MLB’s Boston Red Sox, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, NASCAR’s RFK Racing and English Premier League football club Liverpool.
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