Korean professional golfer, Bio Kim, has been banned from the Korean Tour for three years after he raised his middle finger to the spectators on the 16th hole of the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Open.
The incident occurred when Kim was teeing off, as a spectator took the opportunity to get a picture of Kim as he was on his back swing, the camera then went off which in turn put him off his drive, resulting in the ball veering off to the side whilst only reaching 100 metres. Frustrated by the spectator, Kim immediately turned to the direction of the camera and proceeded to raise his middle finger before smashing his driver into the turf.
Whilst the incident clearly irritated Kim, he did not let it put him off for the rest of the tournament as he ended up victorious which led to him going top of the Korean Tour, this would have opened up the opportunity for Kim to play more highly regarded and lucrative competitions, but due to the suspension he will be unable to finish the season or be able to qualify for these events. The Korean Professional Golfers Association (KPGA) said in a statement that “Kim damaged the dignity of a golfer with an etiquette violation and inappropriate behaviour.”
Kim apologised after the incident and asked for leniency by kneeling in front of the TV cameras when he was summoned to the hearing which was held in Seoul and unanimously decided to enact the three year ban along with a 10 million won (£6730) fine. The KPGA ban only applies to the Korean Tour so Kim should be free to play abroad, however the PGA Tour has also said that it “will conduct its own review of the incident” and during the meantime has barred Kim from playing in PGA and European Tour events.
If the PGA investigation also reaches the same conclusion as the KPGA hearing and decides to ban Kim from PGA and European Tour level events, then the Korean will be unable to play professional golf for a period of three years as a result of putting his middle finger up to a spectator.