TENNIS

Steve Cohen invests in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s golf startup TGL

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Financier and Mets owner Steve Cohen has bought the founding rights to the New York team in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s upstart golf league TGL, the organization announced Thursday.

Cohen’s team will be managed by his family office Cohen Private Ventures. It will begin competition in TGL’s inaugural season next year.

“As golf continues to grow in popularity, there’s a demand for enhanced access to the sport and the world’s top players. … We’re excited to be a part of TGL and build a team that makes New York proud,” Cohen said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TGL is a new primetime, high-tech golf league that will tee off in January 2024. The league has attracted mega star power. Top players who have committed to participate include Woods, McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel.

TGL will operate in partnership with the PGA Tour — the tour is an investor in it — and players will be able to participate in both leagues. TGL says the event timing will be complementary to the players’ PGA Tour schedules.

The launch of TGL comes as professional golf is at a major crossroads. The PGA Tour and fledgling rival LIV Golf agreed to merge in June but have yet to sign a final agreement and still face scrutiny from Congress. A Senate hearing is expected on the matter next week.

The new league will operate with six teams of three PGA Tour players in head-to-head match play in a venue being built on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Florida.

While Cohen will own the rights to the New York team, all events will take place in Florida. However, the league plans to tap into golf and sports audiences in the New York market with events, community outreach and the use of technology to build fan bases.

A media deal for the league has not yet been announced, but a source told CNBC that one is expected to be finalized soon.

Cohen’s ownership group is the fourth for TGL. Other ownership groups include Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Fenway Sports Group, tech founder Alexis Ohanian and tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams. Other investors in the league include basketball great Stephen Curry, race car driver Lewis Hamilton, women’s soccer player Alex Morgan, pro football’s Tony Romo and Josh Allen as well as singer Justin Timberlake.

“The addition of New York as a TGL team not only continues the success of adding major markets to TGL, but also adds an ownership group with strong ties to other major league teams and fanbases. Steve Cohen’s ability and willingness to operate, promote and market this team to New York fans is a significant step as we build toward the launch of TGL in January,” said Mike McCarley co-founder of TMRW Sports, the company operating TGL.

Cohen is the chair of asset management firm Point72. The lifelong baseball fan purchased Major League Baseball’s New York Mets in 2020 and serves as chair and CEO of the team.

The Mets have struggled this season despite entering the year with the league’s highest payroll. They sit in second-to-last place in the National League East.

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