The Wall Street Journal has reported (opens in new tab) that the PGA Tour is being investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for engaging in anti-competitive behaviour against LIV Golf.
It’s the latest twist in an ongoing battle between golf’s traditional powerhouses and the up-start Saudi-backed venture fronted by former World No. 1 Greg Norman that launched last month at the Centurion Club following months of controversy.
The report goes on to say that “players’ agents have received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division involving both the PGA Tour’s bylaws governing players’ participation in other golf events, and the PGA Tour’s actions in recent months relating to LIV Golf, according to a person familiar with those inquiries.”
In response, a PGA Tour spokesperson was quoted as saying: “This was not unexpected. We went through this in 1994 and we are confident in a similar outcome.”
The PGA Tour acted swiftly when play commenced at the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational, suspending the 17 members who teed it up in Hemel Hempstead without a release when the Canadian Open was on at the same time.
In a memo, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also confirmed the same penalty would be handed out to anyone teeing it up in future LIV Golf events. However, that didn’t didn’t deter the likes of Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau from committing to the second $25 million event in Portland, Oregon.
Per the PGA Tour Player Handbook and Tournament Regulations, the commissioner, the tour’s policy board and the appeals committee can ban members for violating its regulations, one of which relates to playing in conflicting events.
Players meeting the 15-event minimum are eligible for three conflicting-event releases but these are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and can be denied.
Bosses at the both PGA Tour and LIV Golf have previously expressed their belief that they have the upper hand in the inevitable legal battles to come. In an explosive open letter published in February, Norman accused the PGA Tour of engaging in…
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