US investigating PGA Tour as it fights off rival LIV Golf

Golf organisation says Department of Justice investigation 'not unexpected'

Xander Schauffele walks to the 17th green at the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland. Getty Images
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The US Justice Department is investigating whether the PGA Tour broke antitrust laws in fighting off the rival LIV Golf circuit, backed by Saudi Arabia.

The PGA Tour confirmed the investigation, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“This was not unexpected. We went through this in 1994 and we are confident in a similar outcome,” a PGA Tour spokesman said in an email statement, referring to an investigation decades ago by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Journal reported that the government had reached out to players' agents regarding PGA Tour bylaws that limit players' ability to participate in rival golf events.

The $255 million LIV series is being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

LIV has lured away major winners including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, while others such as Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have said they plan to stay with the PGA and DP World tours.

The Journal said that the PGA Tour has required golfers who wanted to play in LIV competitions to request releases and has suspended some who failed to do so.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the investigation.

Updated: July 11, 2022, 8:23 PM