According to the Department of Justice, the antitrust investigation into professional golf by the Department of Justice is more extensive than originally thought.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday from anonymous sources that Augusta National Golf Club (which operates the Masters Tournament), the United States Golf Association, and the PGA of America were also under investigation. WSJ reported previously in July, that the DOJ was investigating whether PGA Tour engaged in anticompetitive behaviour against the Greg Norman-led, Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The report stated that Augusta National had provided documents to the Department of Justice investigation. According to the WSJ, both a spokesperson for Augusta National as well as a lawyer representing the club declined to comment.
The USGA confirmed that the investigation was underway to the Wall Street Journal. A spokesperson for the USGA stated that the organization would fully comply with all requests.
The PGA of America declined to comment on The Wall Street Journal.
According to a source familiar with the inquiries, the Wall Street Journal reported that agents representing golfers received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division regarding both the PGA Tour’s bylaws governing players’ participation in other golf events and the PGA Tour’s recent actions relating to LIV golf.
LIV Golf is a plaintiff at an antitrust case in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. It claims that the PGA Tour illegally used monopoly power in unfairly suspending LIV players from PGA Tour competition.
LIV Golf was accused by the PGA Tour of inducing top players into violating PGA Tour contracts, claiming that they could not enforce them.
LIV Golf Series, a new series that started in Saudi Arabia, has been criticised as another way for the government to sportwash its human rights record. These events, which include eight next year and fourteen next year, offer alternatives to the Tour. They offer 54-hole, no cut tournaments with mega-million-dollar signing bonuses and huge prize money, including $120,000 for last place.
Saudi Arabia is being accused of a wide range of human rights violations, including torture, forced disappearances, politically motivated killings, and inhumane treatment for prisoners. Saudi royals and the Saudi government were also accused of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, a Washington Post columnist and journalist from Saudi Arabia.
Contributing by Adam Woodard; Associated Press