Augusta National, Other Governing Bodies Of Golf Under Investigation In DOJ Antitrust Probe

The Justice Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation of the professional golf world isn’t solely focused on the PGA Tour. A new report states Augusta National, the USGA, and the PGA of America are all part of the DOJ’s antitrust probe as well.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that three of golf’s major governing bodies are also involved in the investigation. Augusta National oversees the Masters, the USGA is in charge of the U.S. Open and the PGA of America runs the PGA Championship each year.

News of the antitrust probe was first reported back in July with the PGA Tour confirming to the WSJ that the DOJ was investigating if it engaged in “anticompetitive behavior” with LIV Golf as the Saudi-backed circuit was just starting operations.

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The Members Only sign outside the gates of Augusta National in Augusta, Ga. (Getty Images)

Shortly after the inaugural LIV Golf began on June 9, the PGA Tour announced that all players who defected to the rival circuit were indefinitely suspended from competing in PGA Tour events. This punishment is what LIV Golf sees as anticompetitive.

LIV Golf is pursuing an antitrust lawsuit and is arguing that the PGA Tour suspending its players is illegal behavior and an attempt to kill its new rival. The PGA Tour countersued, alleging the Saudi-backed rival is interfering in its own deals with golfers.

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One of the biggest questions surrounding LIV Golf and its players is whether or not they will be allowed to compete in major championships if they meet requirements.

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Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Augusta National, the USGA, the PGA of America and the R&A in Europe all operate separately from one another and the PGA Tour. However, LIV’s lawsuit and the DOJ probe indicate the possibility of anticompetitive behavior, or in simpler terms, conspiring together to keep LIV golfers out of major championships moving forward.

The 2023 Masters will be the first major championship of the new year and is set for April 6-9. It’s not too farfetched to say Augusta National won’t make up their minds about allowing LIV golfers through the gates until just a few days prior unless, of course, the DOJ somehow forces a hand.

LIV’s complaints specifically feature mentions of Augusta National accusing the home of the Masters of aligning with the PGA Tour.

The DOJ’s investigation is only one of many legal battles already underway in the professional golf world, but certainly an important one.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris

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