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DOJ asking about competition in PGA-LIV dispute

The dispute between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series is now in the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the PGA Tour said Monday it is confident it will prevail.

“This was not unexpected,” the tour said in a statement.

The Journal said players ’agents have received inquiries from the Justice Department’s antitrust division that include PGA Tour regulations on competitive events and the tour that has suspended players in recent months for playing at LIV Golf events. The Journal quoted a person familiar with the inquiries.

The Justice Department made no comment.

The new series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and has already attracted nearly two dozen members of the PGA Tour, a list that includes Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. They all received subscription fees of $ 150 million or more. For Johnson, that would be double the revenue from his career in his 15 years on the PGA Tour.

Announcement

The problem is the PGA Tour’s policy that members receive a release from a conflicting event to play tournaments abroad when a touring event is held that week. Players typically receive three such releases a year, only for overseas events. The tour does not allow releases for tournaments held in North America.

He denied the launches for the first LIV Golf event, which was held outside London in the first week of June, because he saw it as a series of tournaments threatening the PGA Tour. LIV events offer $ 25 million in prizes and its schedule of eight tournaments includes five events in the United States. Two are in courses owned by former President Donald Trump.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has suspended players who competed in the first LIV event and the most recent one outside of Portland, Oregon. The next LIV event is scheduled for Trump National in New Jersey within two weeks.

Announcement

Some players, such as Johnson and Sergio Garcia, have resigned from joining the PGA Tour. Mickelson no. He is a life member for his 45 wins in his career, and Mickelson said he has earned that status.

Greg Norman, the two-time British Open champion who is CEO of LIV Golf, said two months ago when the tour denied the releases that “the PGA Tour seems to want to deny professional golfers their right to play, unless it’s exclusively in a He called the decision “anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive.”

The tour referred to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission two decades ago when it said in its statement, “We went through this in 1994 and are confident of a similar outcome.”

That four-year investigation led to a FTC recommendation that two rules be overturned: compete in non-PGA Tour events without the commissioner’s permission and allow veto power over players who appear on televised golf programs. Under strong lobbying, the FTC voted 4-0 to end the investigation by rejecting the recommendation of staff antitrust attorneys.

Announcement

The report arrives at the beginning of the British Open in St. Andrews, one more example of how the rival league has disrupted golf this year. Players who signed with Norman’s group were criticized by the funding source and players like Mickelson and Johnson lost corporate sponsorships.

Four players from the European tour last week received a temporary suspension, which allowed them to compete in the Scottish Open.

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DOJ asking about competition in PGA-LIV dispute

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