The pair, along with respected sports industry executive Mike McCarley, forms TMRW Sports to create technology-based experiences and could be a PGA Tour counter punch to LIV Golf
It looks as if the golf war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is raging into the dog days of summer.
On a day in which reports of British Open champion Cameron Smith heading to the Saudi-backed golf league continues to swirl, the PGA Tour’s possible counter involved a partnership between two of its biggest names — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy — along with legendary sports industry executive Mike McCarley.
The trio announced Tuesday the formation of TMRW Sports, a company focused on building technology-focused ventures that feature progressive approaches to sports, media and entertainment.
More details on TMRW Sports — pronounced "tomorrow sports" — may arise Wednesday when PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan holds his news conference in Atlanta prior to the one of the Tour's showcase events, the season-ending Tour Championship.
Last week, Woods and McIlroy met with top players who have remained loyal to the PGA Tour to float several ideas that could produce additional pay days away from the green grass of the golf course and involve the new venture TMRW Sports.
"So many athletes, entertainers and people I meet from all walks of life share our passion for sports, but they also share our desire to build a better future for the next generation of sports fans," Woods said. "Together, we can harness technology to bring fresh approaches to the sports we love."
"For the last few years off the course, I’ve been focused on helping to lead golf into its digital future. Now, by joining forces with Tiger, Mike, and other TMRW Sports partners, we can shape the way that media and technology improve the sports experience," added McIlroy. "In a world where technology provides us with so many choices for using our time, we want to make sports more accessible for as many people as possible."
So, for those who projected an image of the PGA Tour as living in the past and consumed by history and not necessarily the latest trends, think again.
"Both Tiger and Rory’s competitive spirit extends beyond the golf course, and both have proven track records in supporting ventures that are modernizing the way sports are played, enjoyed and consumed," said McCarley, the CEO and founder of TMRW Sports. “As we begin this journey together with the strong support of a diverse team of investors and partners, we’re focused on accelerating the evolution of sports with several interesting projects in development."
In addition to investments from Woods, McIlroy and McCarley, Dick Ebersol is an initial investor of TMRW Sports. Ebersol, a sports and entertainment industry icon, is the former chairman of NBC Sports and executive producer of many of the most-watched events in television history, including the Olympics and Super Bowls.
"Since I retired, I’ve refused any real work besides giving advice for plenty of friends, but this is the right idea at the right time with one of the few people I would do this with," Ebersol said. "Mike and I have remained close and knowing him, his impeccable track record in business and, most importantly, witnessing firsthand the way he approaches relationships — I would bet on anything he creates. So, when he told me about his vision for what he was building with Tiger and Rory, I couldn’t wait to find a way to get involved."
Additional partners and investors, as well as early projects in the TMRW Sports pipeline, will be announced sooner than later, and more than likely as part of Monahan’s offense against LIV Golf.
For Woods, TMRW Sports joins his TGR Ventures portfolio, which includes PopStroke, Full Swing Golf, TGR Design, The Woods Jupiter and Heard. For McIlroy, TMRW Sports joins his Symphony Ventures portfolio, an investment partnership established by McIlroy and his team, that includes Puttery, GolfPass, GolfNow Compete, Golf Genius, Golf+, Troon Golf, Hyperice and Whoop.
As an NBC Sports executive for more than 20 years, McCarley was part of a core team that shaped many of the biggest events in sports. Previously, McCarley served as NBC Sports’ president for golf, and global strategy from 2011-21 and led NBC’s golf portfolio, including golf coverage across NBC Sports and Golf Channel, as well as its digital platforms to modernize the golf experience, including GolfNow and GolfPass.
As president of Golf Channel, he quickly transformed the network, including several years as the fastest-growing network on American television. In this role he developed close relationships with Woods and McIlroy and their respective teams.