In what can only be called the Korea Open version of the Dustin Johnson situation at the 2010 US PGA Championship, Kim Hyung-tae lost by a shot after finding out on the 17th hole on Sunday that he had grounded his club in a hazard earlier in his round.
Hyung-tae had a two-shot lead standing on the 17th tee when officials told him that earlier in his round, on the 13th hole, he had grounded his club in a hazard, meaning the four he had recorded on the card was actually a six. When all was said and done, Hyung-tae finished a shot out a would-be play-off with eventual champion Kang Sung-hoon but not after a lot of deliberation.
After his round, Hyung-tae took officials back to the 13th hole and reviewed the rules violation for two hours before finally signing his scorecard and giving the trophy to Sung-hoon.
The pair finished their round, but before signing their scorecards they returned to the 13th -- a par-three island green -- and spent nearly two hours in deep discussion with officials, who also repeatedly consulted TV footage of the incident.
Kim argued he had never grounded his club, but was eventually persuaded to sign for a six by the Korean Golf Association rules committee, who had voted 5-3 against him.
If you skip to the 5:09 mark in this video you will see Hyung-tae playing the 13th hole, and it sure looks like he grounded his club, but even the champion seemed disappointed in the way things ended.
"I'm a really good friend of his so at the moment it doesn't feel great. Even though I won the tournament, I just feel really sorry for him," Sung-hoon said. "I was actually out there to celebrate for him, but … I don't know … I don't know what to say. It's horrible."
"Hard to celebrate in these circumstances. It doesn't feel like it."
The season of the weird rulings continues.
- Sports & Recreation