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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 156
“I completely respect the court’s decision and I humbly accept the judgment by the law,” Bae said. “I am sorry to those who have supported me, including all my fans and South Koreans, for causing anxiety.” “MyplanistoplayasmuchasIcantherestof this season on the PGA Tour and into the FedEx Cup Playoffs before reporting for my military duty in South Korea. How rigorous Bae’s military service will be – and whether he’ll be able to return to the top of his game once he’s discharged – remains to be seen. It’s common for Korean celebrities to be given a smooth ride through their service, with many tasked with performing promotional duties and kept well out of harm’s way. As recently as two years ago there was even a celebrity soldier unit, until some of the unit’s most famous members – a pair of pop stars – were filmed enjoying special privileges at a restaurant before frequenting an illegal massage parlour. The Korean court said it now had little regard for its citizens’ status, or the fact that Bae stood to lose millions in prizemoney and endorsements. “For everyone facing conscription, dreams are all precious,” the court said in making its ruling. “If an athlete is allowed to arbitrarily schedule when he’d enter the military because he’d lose more money than others, then it would damage the idea of fairness in conscription and also the morale among the troops.” Bae isn’t the first PGA Tour golfer to put their life on hold to perform their military service and he won’t be the last. South Korea’s most famous golfing export, K.J. Choi, completed his service in the years before he turned pro, and his service involved working two out of every three days. On the third day, he’d be hitting golf balls. Here’s hoping the PGA Tour makes good on its talk of protecting players’ rankings when duty calls, and here’s hoping Bae is the same player when he walks out of the barracks as he was when he walked in. OTG “I AM SORRY TO THOSE WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME, INCLUDING ALL MY FANS AND SOUTH KOREANS, FOR CAUSING ANXIETY.”
OTG Express 155 - The Open wrap
OTG Express 157