Augusta National and U.S.G.A. Drawn Into Justice Department Antitrust Inquiry
July 18, 2013
In a move that could have far-reaching implications for the ongoing U.S.G.A. antitrust investigation, the Justice Department has subpoenaed the offices of the National and U.S. Golf Association.
The move is part of a long-running investigation by the U.S.G.A. and its commissioner, Greg Norman, into alleged antitrust violations by the national and U.S.G.A.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey alleges that the national and U.S.G.A. conspired to fix prices for golf tournaments and affiliated products. U.S.G.A. also claims the national and U.S.G.A. breached a contract regarding the use of its national trademark. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and damages of up to $75 million.
The national and U.S.G.A. have denied the allegations.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department said Monday that the agency would make a decision “in the near future.”
The U.S.G.A. also declined to comment.
It was not immediately clear what evidence the subpoenas may contain, but the Justice Department has previously ordered the National Association for Advancement of Golf to hand over any documents related to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed about a year ago. In response, the U.S.G.A. has argued that its lawsuit was filed too late–a week before the U.S.G.A. Convention in Orlando, Fla.,–and that antitrust law should not be applied to tournament fees or the National’s trademark license agreement.
“Golf is one of the world’s most popular sports, and it continues to be a global money maker for the players and manufacturers, as well as for charitable organizations,” U.