Korean Tour suspends player 3 years for obscene gesture

Sports

FILE – This is a June 15, 2013, file photo showing Bio Kim, of South Korea, after putting on the 17th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pa. Kim won the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2019, and then lost his job. The Korea PGA suspended him Tuesday, Oct. 1 for three years for making an obscene gesture at the crowd on the 16th hole of the final round because of noise from a cellphone camera. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Bio Kim won the tournament and then lost his job. The Korea PGA suspended him Tuesday for three years for making an obscene gesture at the crowd on the 16th hole of the final round because of noise from a cellphone camera.

Yonhap News Agency reports that Kim knelt before cameras and apologized to fans after his disciplinary hearing.

The suspension is effective immediately for Kim, who won the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open for his second Korean Tour victory this year. He leads the Order of Merit and points list for player of the year.

Yonhap also reports that Kim was fined 10 million won ($8,350).

Kim, who qualified for the PGA Tour in 2011 but failed to keep his card, had a one-shot lead Sunday when he teed off on the 16th hole and heard noise from a camera. He turned to his right, raised his middle finger toward the crowd and slammed his driver. The moment was shown on live television.

Kim held on for the victory and apologized for losing his temper. He said he would accept whatever punishment came his way.

Yonhap said the Korea PGA, which runs the Korean Tour, does not disclose discipline against players but decided to make an exception to send a message to the players.

After losing his PGA Tour card in 2011, Kim played what is now the Korn Ferry Tour in 2012 and 2013, and then again in 2018. He failed to keep his status each time.

It was not immediately clear whether Kim would be eligible to play other tours around the world, including the PGA Tour-sanctioned circuits in China, Canada and Latin America, while serving his three-year Korea PGA suspension.

The PGA Tour said he would not be eligible pending its own review to determine whether to restrict Kim’s access to its tournaments.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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