Federal Investigators in the United States Justice Department have begun investigations that will change the landscape of professional golf in never before seen ways.
The Department of Justice has announced that the PGA Tour is being investigated along with the United States Golf Association and Augusta National Golf Club for their alleged antitrust business practices.
The PGA Tour is embroiled in a battle with the Saudi-owned golf tour LIV Golf.
To combat the massive paydays that LIV Golf offered its participants, the PGA Tour decided to ban all LIV players from any future PGA Competition in the future.
This desperate move to hold onto the best players in the world has led to massive legal troubles for the PGA Tour.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ is now also investigating the famed Augusta National Golf Club for its role in the potential anti-trust scheme.
Other massive bodies in the golf world have also seen themselves under the DOJ’s microscope.
According to a spokesperson, the USGA, the group that runs the U.S. Open, has also found itself a subject of investigation and will fully comply with the DOJ.
This is not the only legal battle affecting the PGA Tour, which has also been sued by former players and the LIV Golf organization itself in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
LIV Golf, along with some of its star players, is alleging that the PGA Tour has acted unfairly to golfers who play for the Saudi-run tour in an attempt to scare PGA Tour players from joining the rival organization.
In response, the PGA Tour filed a countersuit alleging that the LIV Tour is illegally interfering in the PGA Tour’s players’ contractual obligations.
Augusta National, the course that runs the famed Master’s golf tournament, has been accused of threatening to revoke their invitation to any player who joins LIV Golf. The PGA Tour denies this claim.
With the 2023 Masters tournament being in April, Augusta National will have plenty of time to decide what to do with the prodigal stars who wish to compete in the Major.
It is unlikely that they will release any statement regarding those players until we are much closer to the tournament.
These ongoing legal proceedings will likely affect how LIV Golfers are treated in next year’s major tournaments.
It is also important to note that while this LIV lawsuit began with many players involved, including big names like Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter, many of the players have now withdrawn their names as plaintiffs in US courts.
In an early filing, LIV players sought to be allowed to play in the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs, a PGA Tour event.
Courts did not side with the LIV players in that dispute and LIV players were barred from the playoff events.
“The Tour does not have the space to correct all of [Plaintiff’s] half-truths and falsehoods in this brief, and instead has created a separate chart identifying an exemplary set of them,” wrote PGA Tour lawyers.
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