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John Reitman

By John Reitman

DOJ antitrust investigation into PGA Tour includes Augusta National


Some of the more famous antitrust lawsuits in U.S. history include parties such as Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, the Chicago Board of Trade, AT&T, Microsoft and . . .  Augusta National Golf Club.

For months, the PGA Tour has been the subject of antitrust talks over its rules governing player participation in competing tours, particularly as they relate to the Saudi-back LIV Golf tour. Recently, the USGA and Augusta National have been named in the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation. 

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ launched an antitrust investigation into the PGA Tour in July over allegations it would not allow former Tour players who defected to the Saudi-backed tour to compete. Players agents have received inquiries from the DOJ about the PGA Tour's bylaws about participating in competing tours.

A lawsuit filed by several former Tour players who left for the LIV tour, Augusta National aligned with the PGA Tour and indicated earlier this year that it might ban LIV tour players from the Masters, including former champions.

The litigants, who include Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, say in the suit that "the links between the PGA Tour and Augusta National run deep. The actions by Augusta National indicate that the PGA Tour has used these channels to pressure Augusta National to do its bidding. For example, in February, 2022 Augusta National representatives threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf."

The USGA, which also has aligned with the PGA Tour's side, has confirmed it, too, has been named in the investigation and intends to comply with all DOJ requests. Attorneys for Augusta National have been mum on the subject.

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