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Friday, July 12, 2024

Augusta National, USGA Pulled Into DOJ Antitrust Investigation

  • The PGA Tour is under federal investigation for anticompetitive behavior against LIV Golf.
  • LIV's civil suit alleges that Augusta National played a prominent role in trying to prevent players from leaving the PGA Tour.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Department of Justice has widened the scope of its investigation into anticompetitive behavior in the professional golf world.

Per a new report from the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ includes Augusta National and the United States Golf Association in its antitrust investigation of the PGA Tour as it pertains to LIV Golf. The investigation began in July.

The report alleges that Augusta National — which hosts the iconic Masters tournament — has had to produce documents as part of the DOJ probe. The club would not comment.

A USGA spokeswoman confirmed that the organization is also subject to the investigation, and intends to comply with any and all requests.

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The federal investigation is separate from a civil complaint that was filed by LIV players — and now includes the league itself — in August. Several players have since dropped out of that suit, including Phil Mickelson.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Augusta National played a prominent role in trying to prevent players from leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

  • The club threatened to disinvite players from the Masters if they jumped to LIV.
  • Club chairman Fred Ridley personally advised several players at last year’s Masters not to sign with LIV.
  • Representatives from Augusta National were present at an emergency meeting held by the Tour following the announcement of the first LIV Golf field.

The civil trial is set to get underway in January 2024.

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