The PGA Tour and LIV Golf are in a heavyweight title fight for the future of professional golf, and the Department of Justice is keeping a close eye on the ring.
In a Monday report from The Wall Street Journal, the PGA Tour confirmed that the United States Department of Justice is investigating whether the Tour engaged in anti-competitive behavior against the LIV Golf Invitational series led by Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia.
The Wall Street Journal reported that golfers’ agents have received inquiries from the DOJ’s Antitrust Division regarding both PGA Tour regulations governing player participation in other golf events and the actions of the PGA Tour in recent times. months regarding LIV Golf, according to a person familiar with such requests.
Such an investigation would normally include the subject being instructed to freeze all relevant communications, both internal and with third parties.
“It was not unexpected,” a PGA Tour spokesperson told the Journal. “We went through that in 1994, and we’re confident of a similar outcome.”
The DOJ declined to comment.
OPINION:Norman’s exclusion from the British Open should be applauded
AFTER: McIlroy would be ‘super happy’ if LIV Golf disappeared tomorrow
NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to receive daily top sports headlines
The new LIV golf series has long been criticized as just another way for the Saudi government to clean up its human rights record. The series of events – eight this year and 14 next year – offer alternatives to the Tour, such as 54-hole non-cut tournaments that offer multimillion-dollar signing bonuses and eye-watering prizes, including $120,000 $ for last place.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of numerous human rights violations, including politically motivated killings, torture, enforced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the Saudi royal family and government have been accused of involvement in the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
In response to the challenges posed by LIV golf, the Tour has strengthened its “strategic alliance” with the DP World Tour, bolstered prize funds for certain events and banned those who have played for the upstart circuit, which hosted two events this summer. with a third coming later this month at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Critics have questioned the bans, as well as the policy requiring players to request releases to play in tournaments opposed to Tour events. Noted in the report, in 1994 the Federal Trade Commission reviewed two Tour rules regarding golfers playing in non-PGA events without permission from the commissioner and their appearance on televised golf programs, but resigned a year later. late.