Report: LIV Golf Trio Interviewed By US Justice Department

The three LIV golfers have been interviewed along with lawyers from the PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson LIV interviewed
Phil Mickelson preparing for this week's PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV Golf trio Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia have been interviewed by the United States Department of Justice, along with lawyers from the PGA Tour, according to a New York Times report.

The Tour remains involved in a probe by the Justice Department that was spurred by the advent of LIV Golf, as the Saudi-backed circuit fronted by CEO Greg Norman has accused the Tour of anti-competitive behaviour and joined an antitrust lawsuit first filed by Mickelson and DeChambeau in U.S. District Court in August 2022.

In July, players’ agents received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division regarding laws about participating in non-tour events and the Tour’s actions related to LIV. The tour has countersued LIV, responding: "if anyone is competing unfairly, it is LIV, not the tour" - and contends the LIV-backed lawsuit is a "cynical effort to avoid competition and to freeride off of the tour’s investment in the development of professional golf."

Other golfing bodies have become embroiled in the problem, including Augusta National Golf Club, the USGA and PGA of America, which is hosting this week’s PGA Championship, where both Mickelson, a former champion, and DeChambeau are teeing it up.

All three players have been suspended from the Tour following their defections to the upstart league, with court filings revealing Mickelson had been previously suspended for attempting to recruit players to join the new circuit.

The Tour has faced antitrust claims before. In the early 1990s, the Federal Trade Commission concluded a four-year investigation into whether it had violated antitrust laws, partially due to a rule stipulating permission for a conflicting-event release, which the Tour has invoked this year to suspend those who have joined LIV Golf.

No federal action was taken at the time and it was then-PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem (a lawyer himself who worked in President Jimmy Carter’s administration) who received much of the credit for this.

LIV Golf lost a key legal battle last month against the DP World Tour, as a UK arbitration panel upheld the DP World Tour’s right to suspend and fine its members for joining LIV. 

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Garcia and Henrik Stenson all resigned from the DP World Tour earlier this month, which ended their Ryder Cup careers. Richard Bland also quit the Tour. 

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has come out on top in most of the early rulings, although the lawsuit and countersuit between the two rivals is still very much in its infant stages.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.