The ongoing legal battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
However, a deeper look into the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into the PGA Tour revealed that the tour isn’t the only entity under scrutiny. A Washington Post report last week indicated that the Augusta National Golf Club, the American PGA and the American Golf Association are under investigation.
The PGA Tour was embroiled in a legal battle with Saudi-backed LIV Golf as LIV attempted to pull top players away from the Tour into their league. Concurrent with that legal retreat, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division investigation into the PGA Tour was following antitrust accusations by the Tour.
Now, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the investigation is clearly broader than previously thought and involves more than just the PGA Tour.
PGA Tour players and agents received inquiries about the PGA Tour’s bylaws, their relationship to players’ participation in non-PGA Tour events and the Tour’s procedures in connection with LIV Golf.
The PGA Tour is under investigation by the Department of Justice regarding alleged anti-competitive behavior against LIV Golf.
Now, the Department of Justice is investigating whether Augusta National played a role in trying to prevent players from leaving the Tour.Tweet embed Has updates on LIV’s civil suit
Front Office Sports (FOS) October 27 2022
The main argument LIV Golf is trying to make in the courts is that the PGA Tour acted illegally and against contracts when they suspended players who participated in LIV events. Once the first starting point was hit by a Tour player in a LIV event, they were suspended indefinitely by the PGA Tour.
The Tour responded to this claim with a counter-suit, saying that LIV Golf had harmed the Tour by interfering with contracts and in the Tour’s deals with golfers.
Augusta National appeared in the LIV Golf lawsuit, in which LIV alleged that Augusta National had taken steps to align and support the PGA Tour. The lawsuit alleges that Augusta National representatives threatened to deprive players of the prestigious Masters tournament if they joined the LIV.
The report also says Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley declined an invitation from LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Normal to sit down and meet and explain how “LIV Golf can operate in the current world of professional golf.”
LIV Golf is campaigning for the league to be able to earn golf world ranking points, despite not meeting its specific criteria for doing so. This is key because once non-exempt LIV golfers fall below certain ratings thresholds, they will not be eligible to participate in the four majors without other qualifications.