PGA Tour pro Justin Thomas will headline the roster of the TGL franchise Atlanta Drive GC, owned by Arthur Blank’s AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), it was announced Tuesday. Thomas is the first player named to a team roster in the new Monday night golf league developed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TMRW Sports in partnership with the PGA Tour. Three other players to be announced later will fill out the Atlanta squad.
Thomas, 30, has won a pair of PGA Championships (2017, 2022), a FedEx Cup Championship (2017) and a PGA Tour Player of the Year award (2017). In 2018, he became the 21st player to top the Official World Golf Rankings. He has won $54.5 million in official PGA Tour prize money.
More from Sportico.com
Thomas has 15 victories on the PGA Tour, although none since the 2022 PGA Championship, and his world ranking has dropped to 28th after only four top 10s during 2023. His combined record in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup competition is a strong 15-6-3; the match play format is similar to what will be played in TGL. He finished fourth last year in the Tour’s Player Impact Program, behind Woods, McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. The PIP rewards players for their popularity, with JT pocketing $7.5 million for his finish.
“To be aligned with an owner like Arthur Blank and his incredible variety of businesses as they expand their golf portfolio, feels like a great fit for me,” Thomas said in a statement. “I promise our team will compete hard to win championships and have a lot of fun along the way.”
The new golf league fuses advanced tech and live action at the SoFi Center, TGL’s custom-built arena in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on the campus of Palm Beach State College. To build the player rosters, TGL worked with the PGA Tour, TGL teams, players and player management to ensure a player’s TGL schedule will be “largely complementary” to his PGA Tour schedule, according to the Thomas-Atlanta announcement. Considerations were also made for ESPN’s broadcast schedule and team competitive balance, as well as “elements of what made each team, ownership group and city/region unique.”
In August, Blank’s AMBSE secured the rights to the third TGL franchise, adding to his sports team portfolio which includes the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United. AMBSE also owns the PGA Tour Superstore, which will have 66 locations by year-end and reaches more than seven million customers annually.
Other TGL franchises have been announced in Los Angeles, led by Alexis Ohanian and Serena and Venus Williams; Boston (Fenway Sports Group); New York (Steve Cohen) and San Francisco (Marc Lasry, Stephen Curry). There will be one more franchise added to the league, which tees off in January.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Justin Thomas to Atlanta Drive GC and believe he’s a perfect fit for who we want this team to be and how we want to play,” Dick Sullivan, PGA Tour Superstore CEO and leader of the Drive team said in a statement. “Thomas’ remarkable talent, unwavering dedication to the game and competitive spirit make him a fan favorite and someone who represents the values that drive all AMBSE teams and businesses.”
Best of Sportico.com