The fight of the PGA Tour with LIV Golf has reached the Judiciary

The fight of the PGA Tour with LIV Golf has reached the Judiciary

The conflict of men’s professional golf has spread to a new setting with the Justice PGA Tour investigation for its competitive behavior in its dealings with the isolated LIV golf series, a tour spokesman confirmed on Monday.

The PGA Tour has suspended players who have violated tour rules and participated in two recent LIV golf events without the permission of the PGA Tour. Greg Norman, chief executive of LIV Golf, whose main shareholder is Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, has condemned the tour’s location as “illegal monopoly”.

Jay Monahan, PGA Tour Commissioner, has repeatedly countered that his company’s policies will stand up for legal review, including if a lawsuit is filed by a suspended PGA Tour member, which is expected. The PGA Tour points to a 1994 federal investigation that examined comparative disciplinary action by tours against golfers playing in a non-PGA Tour event without the commissioner’s permission. The tour did not receive any federal bans at the time.

“We went through this in 1994 and we are confident of similar results,” Laura Neal, PGA Tour executive vice president, wrote in an email Monday. Regarding the Justice Department’s investigation, Neil said: “It wasn’t unexpected.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment, citing a long-standing policy of confirming or denying reports of ongoing investigations.

The investigation into the PGA Tour was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. Representatives from LIV Golf did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The LIV Golf Circuit, which has hosted two of the eight events planned for this year, has hunted down several prominent players on the PGA Tour with huge advance payments and attendance fees. Phil Mickelson, a six-time major winner, is reported to have received $ 200 million.

LIV tournaments have offered a total prize money of $ 20 million, with the finalist guaranteed $ 120,000. Some golfers have earned about $ 1 million in a single event after finishing third at the bottom of the field, with a separate money pool for a team competition. Rebel Circuit has also attracted PGA Tour players by offering a limited schedule, although LIV Golf plans to expand the schedule to 14 tournaments next year, roughly the same number a typical PGA Tour golfer currently plays in a tour season.

Nonetheless, recognized names such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeu, Patrick Reid, Sergio Garcia and Louis Ostuygen have left the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf Series. The world rankings of virtually all the players in that group have dropped in recent seasons. And the ranking points, which are important for inviting players to the four major golf championships, are not found at LIV golf events.

Mickelson dropped from 38th to 92nd in the men’s world rankings. Garcia went from 45th to 68th. DeChambeau started the ninth ranking year and is now 33rd, and Johnson, who was eighth this year, is now 18th.

Mickelson, 52, was heavily criticized this year and lost several long-term corporate sponsorships when he admitted he supported the LIV golf series because he saw it as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to win the PGA Tour for extended payments to players. . In LIV competition, however, he found himself uncomfortable on the golf course.

He has shot better than 75 just once in two tournaments, finishing 10 overs in each event.

Last week, in a British court, three LIV-linked golfers applied for a stay from a Scottish golf tournament and won a temporary stay by allowing them to compete in the event. The commissioner of the DP World Tour, a former European tour, who issued a stay order against LIV golfers – and fined them around $ 120,000 each – promised to press the court to maintain the imposed discipline.

Monahan was also confident about the location of the tour in his conflict with LIV Golf.

Late last month, in response to LIV Golf’s massive tournament payouts, Monahan announced significant prize money increases at upcoming PGA Tour events, adding that the tour “will come out stronger from the current challenge due to our loyalty and support from our players and fans.”

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