Officials at BGA golf tournaments have confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the tournament is involved in monopolistic behavior as it competes with new Saudi-backed LIV tournaments, according to the Wall Street Journal. “.
Minutes after the start of the “LIV” golf tournament, the “BGA” tournaments of the World Professional Golf Association on Thursday issued a decision to ban 17 players from participating in its tournament after joining the brand new competition .
The new LIV golf tournament funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund kicked off in North London last Thursday, with fans arriving at the Centurion Club in St Albans to see some of the sport’s biggest names play during the first opportunity.
And the Saudis have signed on with the most famous names in the golf game to take part in their new championship after “luring them with money”, according to the New York Times newspaper, which said the Saudi-funded league is coming to competing with the BGA Championships, a tournament that has been the most important event for decades.And the highest level in the World Golf Championships and its first standard.
Players ‘agents have received inquiries from the Department of Justice’s antitrust department about both the PAG Tour’s ordinances governing players’ participation in other golf events, and the PGA Tour’s actions in recent months related to LIV tournaments, according to one person. who is familiar with the queries. .
The questions send a clear signal that the Department of Justice is monitoring the battle that has sharply divided world golf tournaments, and what the two parties expect to end up in U.S. courts at some point.
A spokesman for the “BGA Tour” said they were investigating, and they were confident of winning this fight, while the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.
The LIV Championship considered the decision of its competitor to prevent players from participating in the BEG Championship to be harsh and unfair, and therefore players should not be forced to take part in one of the two tournaments above to choose the other.
CNN says that the BGA Tour is still the most prominent golf competition in the world today. However, the new big money round offers a great opportunity to earn money for players all over the world, especially the emerging talents.
The threats to exclude the participating players from the professional BGA tournaments, especially for the American champions, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, did not bear fruit.
Johnson, the former world number one and holder of two major championships, and left-handed genius Mickelson, who is the second biggest player in the last twenty years after Tiger Woods, reacted to Saudi offers and overcame an obstacle that many believed be crossed.
The BGA Championships announced that the players participating in the Saudi-backed LIV Championship – and any other player joining them – “will no longer be eligible to participate” in the rounds launched 93 years ago was sent.
“These players made their choice for financial reasons of their own,” PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. He warned other players who were tempted by Saudi offers that they would be subjected to the same punitive measures, and regretted that “all this talk about money, money and more money.”
The new Saudi-funded league has brought together 48 dissident players, inevitably tempted by exorbitant financial prizes of more than $ 250 million, spread across 8 rounds around the world, and in a unique format over three uninterrupted days. Among the 48 dissenting players, 16 stars are among the top 100 players in the world.
In turn, American star Phil Mickelson received $ 200 million to join the new project, according to the newspaper, “The Daily Beast.” The player defended his decision to join the new competition on Wednesday in a press conference held in England.
“I understand that people have very strong opinions and may not agree with my decision, and I can sympathize with that,” Mickelson said. “But at this point, it gives me the opportunity to bring the most balance forward in my life, and I think that will do a lot of good for the game.” .
He added that he “never condones human rights violations” and did not want to disclose exactly how much he is being accused of rejecting the league in which he has played for so long. He continued: “I feel that contract agreements should be private. That does not seem to be the case, but it should be.”
But that money LIV spent could also become part of the antitrust case, but tournament organizers say they were forced by BGA Tour rules to spend more on doing business.
It should be noted that this is not the first federal investigation into the practices of the “BGA Tour”, in 1994 the FTC investigated two rules of that tournament, one of which was to prevent golfers from entering without PGA tournaments to play Official, and the other related to the appearance of golf stars on TV shows, but the investigation was closed by 1995.
A BGA spokesman said the new investigation “is expected … We went through this in 1994 and we are confident of a similar outcome.”