The US Justice Department will investigate the PGA Tour-LIV Golf arrangement, according to a report.

According to persons familiar with the situation, the US Justice Department will investigate the PGA Tour’s proposed merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf to see if it breaches antitrust law.

The PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and rival Saudi-backed LIV circuit, which had been embroiled in a nasty battle that has fragmented the sport, announced last week an agreement to consolidate and become one single commercial body.

The Justice Department had already begun an investigation into the PGA Tour’s efforts for preventing its players from defecting to LIV, which was offering huge compensation packages to encourage golfers to join their circuit.

The Justice Department declined to comment, and the PGA Tour did not respond to a request for comment right away.

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is funding the LIV Golf Series. Critics have accused it of being a vehicle for the country to improve its brand – a practise known as “sportswashing” – as it confronts criticism for its human rights record.

Much of the human rights criticism revolves upon the Saudi government’s alleged complicity in human rights crimes, particularly the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The potential merger has already raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden have requested the Justice Department to launch an antitrust inquiry.

Wyden also stated on Thursday that he would investigate the deal and attempt to get the Saudi PIF’s special tax status revoked. Senator Richard Blumenthal requested conversations and data from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf on Monday.

Professional golfers have stated that the surprise announcement of the intended merger caught them off guard.

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