Bio Kim, the Korean who is leading the money list on his home tour, has been handed a remarkable three-year suspension for raising his middle finger at members of the crowd at the weekend.
The 29-year-old actually went on to win the Daegu–Gyeongbuk Open, but his celebrations at his second title of 2019 were cut short when the Korean Tour told him he was to be disciplined for his reaction on the 16th tee when a smartphone sounded during his swing causing his drive to go just 100 yards.
Kim, who played on the PGA Tour earlier this decade, quickly turned and made the offensive gesture to the point in the gallery from where he believed the noise emerged, before slamming his club into the turf. Kim apologised afterwards, but, as the video clip proceeded to go viral, he was still required to attend the hearing in Seoul on Tuesday.
There, Kim repeated his contrition, this time kneeling in front of TV cameras, as he begged for forgiveness. However, the Korean Professional Golfers' Association still voted unanimously to assure their draconian ban and fine him roughly £6,500. ”Kim Bi-o damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behaviour,” the statement read.
Like most Tours worthy of its PR department, the Korean circuit does not usually disclose the discipline it takes against its players, but they decided to make an exception in this case.
Kim also had playing status this year on the Korn Ferry Tour, the feeder league to the PGA Tour, and, ranked 302 in the world, could seek to resurrect his career elsewhere. But honour is everything in Korean golf and it will be intriguing to see what he decides to do next.