Wednesday September 27, 2023

PGA Tour Under Federal Investigation Over Rival LIV Golf

  • Players’ agents have received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division.
  • At issue are regulations regarding player participation in non-PGA events.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
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The PGA Tour is being investigated by the Department of Justice over anticompetitive behavior as it competes with the LIV Golf Invitational Series, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

LIV Golf — an upstart backed by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund — has emerged as direct competition to the PGA Tour after several top-ranked golfers defected to the series, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka

  • Players’ agents have received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division.
  • At issue are regulations regarding player participation in non-PGA events.
  • The PGA Tour’s disciplinary measures are also under the DOJ’s probe. 

The PGA Tour has a history of being under federal investigation. 

In 1994, the Federal Trade Commission issued a similar probe into the Tour regarding player participation in non-PGA events and television appearances on golf-related programs. 

The FTC eventually cut its investigation short, and the PGA Tour expects a similar outcome this time around. 

The tour faces an uphill battle: A stay was issued last week in favor of LIV golfers after the DP World Tour — the European counterpart to the Tour — suspended them from partaking in the Scottish Open.

In The Rough

In addition to an investigation by the DOJ, the PGA Tour could face an antitrust suit in the U.S. brought on by LIV Golf or its players who defected from the Tour. As a result, the DOJ could submit a statement of interest in support of the suit or keep its current probe alive.

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