Rory McIlroy is making the leap from major champion to media mogul.
Appearing Monday on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, McIlroy announced the creation of GolfPass, a joint venture with NBC Sports/Golf Channel.
GolfPass is a digital subscription service launching Tuesday that includes exclusive programming from McIlroy and a slate of member benefits, including free golf, discount pricing on equipment and access to more than 4,000 hours of Golf Channel instructional videos. As part of the project, McIlroy also will launch a monthly podcast with Today show co-host Carson Daly.
“I wanted someone outside of the golfing world but someone that is a huge fan of the game, who can see the game from a different perspective,” McIlroy told the Forecaddie before heading to the Tonight Show’s Manhattan studio. “I’m a big fan of Carson. There’s always been this connection between show-business and golf going back to the Clambake and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week. I just thought it would be a cool idea to bring a different angle to a lot of the golf podcasts that are out there.”
The four-time major winner says GolfPass is aimed more for people who play golf than those who just watch it. He has filmed a documentary called My Roots about his journey to the pinnacle of the sport and a 12-part instruction series with his coach, Michael Bannon, but McIlroy pointed The Man Out Front to the practical benefits for subscribers.
Those include a free round each month at one of 7,000 GolfNow member courses, a $100 travel credit good at top resorts, a dozen free balls from TaylorMade and discounts on equipment products, plus access to video lessons from top PGA Tour swing coaches such as Sean Foley and Cameron McCormick.
Members who subscribe to GolfPass will pay $9.99 a month or $99 a year.
Golf Channel president Mike McCarley was quick to dismiss any comparison to Discovery’s recent deal with Tiger Woods, which is focused on content from Woods. “The comparison is not even close,” McCarley said. “Watching content about golf is part of it, but it’s not necessarily relative to going to play the game. This is live tomorrow, and immediately it’s incredibly substantive.”
McIlroy plans a media blitz Tuesday to promote GolfPass, with stops on Today, CNBC’s Squawk Box and Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Eagle-eyed viewers also will see the GolfPass logo on his bag when he plays next week’s Genesis Open near Los Angeles.