Steve Cohen Predicts Golf Industry Will Boom When AI Enables the Four-Day Workweek

The billionaire hedge fund manager says shorter workweeks are coming—and with them, more time for leisure activities.

Man in grey blazer and grey baseball cap speaks into microphone
Steve Cohen at the SportiConference Invest In Sports 2023 in New York. Bryan Bedder/Sportico via Getty Images

Billionaire Steve Cohen is betting big on golf. The hedge fund manager predicts that with the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (A.I.), the normalization of the four-day workweek will cause a boom in leisure and give workers more time to hit the greens.

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Cohen, the media-shy head of Point72 Asset Management, discussed his prediction in a rare interview with CNBC Squawk Box. “My belief is the four-day workweek is coming,” he said. “I just think it’s an eventuality.”

Despite being known for the owner of the New York Mets, Cohen has made moves in the golf world in recent months. In September, he acquired the rights to a New York team in TGL, a high-tech golf league formed by tiger woods and Rory McIlroy. And as part of a consortium that includes Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, the hedge fund manager invested as much as $3 billion in the PGA Tour earlier this year.

“We think it’s an interesting investment,” Cohen told CNBC of the golf industry, adding that “the way it’s been run, we can improve the operations and make it much more profitable.” Some of that profit could come from expanded leisure time. Between the rise of A.I. and the fact that “people are not as productive on Fridays,” Cohen is gearing up for four-day work weeks to become the norm in the future. With an extra day off, he believes industries around travel and experience will benefit. “I guess courses will be crowded on Fridays,” he said.

Get ready for year-round three-day weekends

Don’t expect Cohen’s employees at Point72 to be taking part as long as the markets remain open throughout the week. “If they’re taking off Friday and they have a portfolio, that’s a problem,” he noted. “Forgetting us, the vast majority of people will get an opportunity, I think at some point, to get a three-day weekend.”

Cohen isn’t the only finance heavyweight to predict a move toward compressed work weeks. Fellow billionaire Ray Dalio made a similar point while speaking at the Milken Institute’s Asia Summit last year, where he claimed that A.I. will let humans work fewer hours and urged for policies to prevent a potential widening of the wealth gap. And back in 2018, business magnate Richard Branson predicted in a blog post that emerging technologies would transform the five-day workweek as we know it.

While traditional working hours have remained largely steady across the U.S., some companies have been increasingly experimenting with work structures. The clothing reseller ThredUp, for example, has already embraced a four-day workweek, while New York City’s largest public employee union recently launched a compressed workweek pilot program that will run until May of next year.

Beyond its effects on work structures, Cohen told CNBC that A.I. is poised to transform how companies operate. “My view is this is a very durable theme,” he said, noting that his firm could save $25 million by using large language models to improve efficiency. “Now, we’re a nice-sized firm; we’re not a huge firm. Imagine what big companies can do.”

Cohen also discussed his plans for the New York Mets, which have recently had an unsuccessful run under his ownership despite a large injection of cash. Moving forward, he will continue overseeing strategy experts and prioritizing the development of young talent. These tactics parallel his approach towards running Point72, noted Cohen. “I’m used to operating in a very centralized way. I give people a lot of rope.”

Steve Cohen Predicts Golf Industry Will Boom When AI Enables the Four-Day Workweek