Country's policy applies to everyone, regardless of who you are. Bae Sang-Moon is no exception, with the two-time US PGA Tour winner having to return to his homeland to complete his military service.
South Korean law dictates that all able-bodied men from the ages of 18 to 35 must complete a two year military service. No exceptions.
Some people may agree or disagree with the policy, especially when it takes one of their leading stars off of the fairways. I'm not a huge follower of politics, but if one of the reasons this military service policy is in place is because they neighbour North Korea, then it's arguably understandable.
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It does seem Sang-Moon has gone about things the wrong way. His travel permit, issued by Korean government, had expired and he failed to return to his homeland. When you are a celebrity, it's not difficult to be tracked down.
He has been charged by the Korean government with violating the terms of military service engagement. The world's number 107 had spent too much time in South Korea to be considered an overseas resident, so he must complete the service now.
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The South Korean had been trying to postpone his service, to continue his golf career, however, a court ruled that he should abide by the rules. The court maintained that it would have a side effect on all Korean citizens, if someone had their service postponed because he was going to lose out on money, as its unfair on the rest of the troops.
Bae has been reported saying that he will "humbly accept" his military service having had the court remind him that he should "put his duty as a South Korean citizen, over his career as a professional golfer."
PGA Tour ruling
As Bae Sang-Moon will not play on the PGA Tour, it seems as if he could lose his playing privileges, once he returns from conscription.
However, the PGA Tour are expected to have some proposed changes to the rules, which indicate the Bae could return at his current level, one his military service is complete.
The PGA Tour have issued a statement saying: "This provision in the tournament regulations would give the commissioner discretion to grant an eligibility extension for a ‘Mandatory Obligation’ including but not limited to military service or religious obligation, allowing the player to return to competition with the same eligibility as if he were under a Major Medical/Family Crisis Extension.”
Therefore the 29-year-old will be able to return to the PGA tour in two years time, but one things for sure, two years out of golf. His game will be very rusty.
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