Korean Tour money leader slapped with three-year suspension for obscene gesture

October 1, 2019
Bio Kim raises his middle finger at fans during last weekend's Korean Tour event.

The Korean Tour is not messing around when it comes to enforcement of its rules. On Tuesday, the KPGA announced that golfer Bio Kim would be fined and suspended from the tour for three full years as punishment for an obscene gesture he made on the golf course.

According to AFP, Kim was playing the 16th hole on Sunday at the KPGA’s DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open when the sound of a cellphone camera disrupted him during a shot. An angered Kim reacted by turning around and raising his middle finger at the crowd, then slamming his club into the ground.

Kim went on to win the event, his second victory of the year, cementing his place on top of the money list. Kim apologized for his outburst after the final putt dropped and even got down on his knees on television to plead for forgiveness.

But the tearful apology wasn’t enough. The Tour reached a unanimous decision to suspend the former PGA Tour golfer for three full years and fined him the equivalent of $8,350.

In a statement reported by AFP, the KPGA said that Kim, who played on the PGA Tour in 2011 in addition to two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, “damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behaviour.”

Here’s a clip of the moment Kim made the obscene gesture:

The harsh punishment dished out by the KPGA stands in stark contrast to the enforcement of etiquette rules on the PGA and European Tours.

Sergio Garcia famously flipped off boisterous fans at Bethpage Black during the 2002 U.S. Open and received no punishment. In 2019, Garcia had several on-course outbursts, including a tirade at the European Tour’s Saudi International event, in which he scuffed the greens with his shoes and had a complete meltdown in a bunker.

Garcia was disqualified from the tournament for those actions, but even so, he was neither suspended for his actions nor forced to return part of the appearance fee he received for playing in the event.

Garcia is not alone in the bad behavior department, though.  At this year’s Masters Tommy Fleetwood was caught flipping off a hole after a missed putt:

In addition, players on the PGA and Euro Tours are sometimes caught yelling obscenities, throwing clubs and even breaking them over their knees, rarely receiving official punishment.

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