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DOJ investigating PGA Tour’s LIV-related actions

Sportsnaut
Jul 2, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Dustin Johnson plays his shot from the 15th tee during the final round of the LIV Golf tournament at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Department of Justice is looking into whether the PGA Tour violated any antitrust rules in its attempts to keep players from jumping to the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Tour confirmed the investigation to the Journal.

The publication reported agents for golfers are being contacted by the DOJ to learn more about the PGA Tour’s bylaws in regard to taking part in other golf events and about its actions as they pertain to LIV.

A PGA Tour spokesperson expressed confidence the tour would come out on top should the two sides wind up in court. The DOJ declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal.

Several big-name PGA Tour players have jumped to LIV Golf, lured by multimillion dollar deals and a lighter schedule, with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Bryson DeChambeau among them. The tour has suspended the players from all of its events, while some golfers have countered by resigning their PGA Tour membership.

DeChambeau previously said he received a contract worth $125 million to jump to LIV Golf.

LIV has said the PGA Tour is being anti-competitive. Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, said his circuit has launched free agency for golfers.

In 1994, the Federal Trade Commission looked at PGA Tour rules that controlled where golfers could play, including a regulation that required the tour commissioner’s approval to play in any non-tour event, but took no action.

LIV Golf has held two of its eight scheduled events for 2022. The third is scheduled for Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey from July 29-31.

–Field Level Media