Justice Department probes PGA Tour battle against new Saudi-backed golf league


A rival new golf league that attracts America’s top players has caught the attention of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Department has launched an investigation into actions the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) has taken against the new Saudi-backed LIV Invitational Golf Series, according to a Wall Street Journal report.


The DOJ is investigating whether the actions taken by the PGA to prevent players from going to the rival league constitute anti-competitive behavior, a source told the newspaper.

The PGA Tour suspended players who opted to play in the eight-week LIV series, prompting LIV president Greg Norman to accuse the tour of running an “illegal monopoly.”

“It was not unexpected,” a PGA Tour spokesperson told the Journal. “We went through this in 1994, and we’re confident in a similar outcome,” the person said, noting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated the PGA over players’ right to play in non-PGA events. , an FTC investigation. dropped the following year.

Two more PGA players joined the Saudi-backed upstart league last week. Charles Howell III, 43, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2018, and Jason Kokrak, 37, who won twice in 2021, have announced they are opting out of joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series. The two American players joined Henrik Stenson, 46, a two-time European Golfer of the Year who won the British Open in 2016.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump, who owns numerous golf courses around the world, has entered the fray against the rival league, which has attracted top golfers like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau with hundreds of millions of dollars.

“All of those golfers who remain ‘faithful’ to the very treacherous PGA, in all its various guises, will pay a heavy price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV arrives, and you’ll get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ PGA officials making millions a year,” Trump wrote on social media. “If you don’t take the money now, you won’t get anything post-merger and you’ll only say intelligence from the original signers Good luck to all and congratulations to the very talented Cam Smith for his incredible WIN!

In recent weeks, a large number of PGA members have announced that they will be leaving the best league in the world to join LIV. Among them are Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Andy Ogletree, Branden Grace, Matt Jones, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford, Peter Uihlein, Lee Westwood and Turk Petit.

EThe exodus prompted the PGA to take serious action.

“We have followed tournament rules from start to finish in responding to players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a rule,” read a PGA statement last month. “Players are advised that they are suspended or no longer eligible to participate in the PGA Tour tournament, including the Presidents Cup. This also applies to all PGA Tour-sanctioned tours: the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

“The players listed below have not received the necessary conflicting events and media rights releases – or have not requested a release at all – and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is a violation of our tournament rules,” the PGA added. .

Joseph Curl covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.