Justin Thomas announced as first player for Atlanta Drive

Justin Thomas chips to the green on the seventh hole during the practice round for the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Justin Thomas chips to the green on the seventh hole during the practice round for the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Justin Thomas is the first member of the Atlanta Drive GC, it was announced Tuesday. Thomas, a two-time major winner and a FedEx Cup champion, is the first golfer to be assigned a team ahead of the inaugural TGL season.

The Atlanta Drive is the Arthur Blank-owned franchise in the six-team league that will begin play in January. Matches will be played in a state-of-the-art indoor simulator facility in Palm Beach, Florida, on the campus of Palm Beach State College.

The team golf league, developed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in partnership with the PGA Tour, will feature teams from Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. A sixth city is still to be announced. Each team will consist of four PGA Tour players.

“Atlanta and the state of Georgia have been the home to some of the biggest sporting events in the country and I’m excited to represent fans there as part of TGL and Atlanta Drive GC,” Justin Thomas said in a statement. “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. I promise our team will compete hard to win championships and have a lot of fun along the way. We will represent Atlanta in the best way possible while helping grow the game everywhere through this unique TGL format.”

The logo for the TGL Atlanta Drive GC features a drive and golf ball forming the letter A.

Credit: Photo provided

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Credit: Photo provided

The indoor facility, the SoFi Center, is a basketball-type arena, golfers will hit drives into a large IMAX-type screen on half of the court. The other half of the court features a putting green built on 60 pistons that can create different undulations. Real bunkers can be moved around the putting green complex. Golfers also will have to hit out of sand and different roughs.

The season will consist of 15 matches televised in prime time.

In addition to Woods, McIlroy and Thomas, the full field of golfers who will compete are Jon Rahm, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Adam Scott, Billy Horschel, Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Tom Kim, Lucas Glover, Wyndham Clark, Cameron Young, Sahith Theegala, Min Woo Lee and Kevin Kisner.

The rest of the Atlanta Drive and other team assignments will be made in the coming weeks.

“We are so excited about having Justin Thomas on the team,” Dick Sullivan, CEO of PGA Tour Superstore who is overseeing Atlanta Drive, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was a target from the first pitch we made back in March because we consider Atlanta the team of the South, an SEC kind of footprint here. We all know how important sports is here. He is from Louisville. He played at Alabama. So he is an SEC guy. That makes him a perfect fit for Atlanta.

“What we really like is with this team format of Atlanta Drive and TGL, between the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, he has got one of the best records (15-6-2).”

Thomas, who has 15 career wins, won the 2017 FedEx Cup championship at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. He won the PGA Championship in 2017 and 2022. Thomas is a two-time PGA Tour Player of the Year.

This rendering is supposed to show what the studio audience will see during a TGL competition. The studio is being built in Palm Beach, Fla.

Credit: TGL

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Credit: TGL