The PGA TOUR logo is seen during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 29, 2021 in San Diego, California.

Ben Jared | PGA Tour | Getty Images

The Justice Department’s antitrust division has notified the PGA Tour that it will review the organization’s proposed merger with Saudi-funded LIV Golf, a source told NBC News Thursday.

The Department of Justice and LIV Golf declined to comment. CNBC made it to the PGA Tour.

The announcement of the deal last week immediately raised antitrust concerns.

This week, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon urged the Justice Department to open an investigation into the agreement. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also opened an investigation into the deal. Wyden fired own investigation Thursday.

The PGA Tour’s once adversarial relationship with LIV is already under scrutiny by federal prosecutors who last year began investigating whether the PGA Tour engaged in anti-competitive behavior.

LIV, which is backed by the so-called Public Investment Fund controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, divided the world of professional golf when it emerged as a competitor to the PGA Tour.

The emerging league’s links to the kingdom, with its sordid human rights record, have sparked a bevy of controversy. But with the help of $2 billion investment From the Crown Fund, LIV has hung huge prizes and perks and has been able to attract high profile golfers to play in its tournaments.

Former President Donald Trump hosted a LIV tournament at a golf club in New Jersey last summer, infuriating the kingdom’s critics — including families and survivors of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf have shut mouths on and off the court, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has said openly criticized rival league, which makes the announcement of the proposed merger all the more surprising. The announcement last week indicated that the dispute would result in a mutual termination of all pending lawsuits.

If a merger takes place, the two entities will combine their businesses and interests into a new for-profit corporation. Monahan told the players in a memo that the PGA Tour Policy Board must approve the agreement.

The PGA Tour revealed Tuesday that Monahan is currently recovering from an unspecified medical issue and is taking a leave of absence.


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