Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of PGA Tour includes U.S. Golf Association


A ball Masters golf ball displays the length of the new rough increased to 1 3/8 of an Inch at the US Masters at the Augusta National GC in Augusta, Georgia, USA.

Stephen Munday | Getty Images

The Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of the PGA Tour’s actions against the upstart LIV Golf league has also ensnared the Augusta National Golf Club and the United States Golf Association.

The federal probe first came to light in July after the PGA Tour indefinitely suspended 17 players, including Phil Mickelson, who signed on to play with LIV Golf, which is funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and has been luring players with record prize money.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the probe also included Augusta National, which oversees the Masters Tournament, and the USGA, which is the governing body for golf courses and clubs in the U.S. and Mexico and conducts the annual U.S. Open major.

A USGA spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that it had been contacted by the Department of Justice and said it is complying with all requests. The association declined to comment on the matter.

Augusta National and its lawyer, Craig Waldman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The inclusion of Augusta National and USGA in the probe comes to light after speculation that players might be barred from the Masters Tournament because of their involvement with LIV Golf. The managing director of LIV Golf, Majed Al Sorour, had warned that LIV would start its own majors, but later walked back the comment on Twitter.

Mickelson, meanwhile, told Sports Illustrated that he “wholeheartedly” expects to play at the Masters despite his LIV Golf affiliation.

Both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have been lobbying in Washington D.C. to state their case against the other. LIV CEO and former PGA Tour player Greg Norman met with members of Congress in September. The tour, meanwhile has paid at least $360,000 to the firm DLA Piper to fund its lobbying effort.

LIV Golf also filed its own antitrust suit against the PGA Tour in September, and the tour subsequently countersued, alleging that LIV Golf was anticompetitive because of its restrictive player contracts. The tour is currently pushing for a deposition documents turnover from the governor of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this report.