(The Hill) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched an investigation into the PGA Tour following allegations of anti-competitive behavior.
A source told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that players’ agents have received inquiries from the department’s antitrust division regarding tour statuses and PGA actions as many players leave for the LIV Golf tour supported by the ‘Saudi Arabia.
According to the tour rules, players are not allowed to participate in other televised golf events unless they obtain permission from the organization’s commissioner.
The PGA banned and fined players who joined the Saudi Tour, which pays them far more per tournament, but proved controversial due to the country’s record of rights abuses.
A PGA spokesperson confirmed the DOJ investigation in an email to The Hill, saying: “It was not unexpected. We went through this in 1994 and are confident of a similar outcome.
In 1994, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated the league over two of its rules involving players participating in different tournaments, the Journal noted. The FTC ended its investigation into the league a year later.
The PGA Tour, founded in 1929, has suspended a list of top golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson for their decision to join the new LIV league.
Some PGA golfers originally applied for release to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Tournament, which took place last month, but were denied by the organization.
The Saudi-backed league has accused the PGA Tour of “monopolistic behavior” towards golfers, writing in a letter that the federal government will have to get involved to investigate the tour’s “illegal practices”, the Journal reported.
The Hill has contacted the Department of Justice and LIV Golf for comment.
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