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Weser v. PGA

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
1979—2 Trade Cases (CCH) 78,180


Emil Weser (plaintiff) wanted to play in the Western Open, a golf tournament co-sponsored by the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) (defendant). Weser did not meet any of the PGA’s eligibility criteria to enter. The primary means of becoming eligible was by successful completion of PGA qualifying school. The number of players who were able to successfully complete qualifying school each year was tied to the number of openings on the PGA tour. In addition, PGA regulations outlined nine other categories of golfers who were eligible to play in a PGA tournament, including the 25 lowest-scoring golfers at the PGA Championship tournament, winners of certain other tournaments, and PGA section champions. Weser brought suit, claiming the eligibility requirements for the tournament violated antitrust laws. PGA filed a motion to dismiss. PGA’s stated goal of its eligibility requirements was to foster a high level of competition on its tour. PGA argued that the number of players in each tournament was limited due to the size of golf courses, the time it took each player to play a round of golf, and other factors such as the availability of private courses and tournament volunteers.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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