If you follow the golf world I’m sure that you’ve heard that a player from the Korean PGA recently received a three-year ban for “flipping the bird”. That player was Bio Kim and he was not a random player from that TOUR.
You see, Bio Kim just happens to be that Tour’s current money leader. So what prompted him to give someone the finger? While leading the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open this past weekend, Kim was hitting his tee shot on the 16th Hole. As he was coming into impact, the sound of a picture being taken startled him. Irate at the situation, he spontaneously gave the finger and slammed his club into the ground. Kim would go on to win the event by one stroke. His second of the season.
The Korean PGA was very quick to discipline Kim for his actions. Banning Kim for three years. The explanation for the disciplinary action being “Kim Bi-o damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behavior,”. On top of the three-year ban, Kim was also handed a fine of $8,350 USD. This has outraged golf fans around the world. But I want to look at this from a different perspective.
In a sense, I have to applaud the Korean PGA for taking such a strong and decisive stance on his actions. While most (including myself) see this as simply a player displaying a “knee-jerk reaction” in frustration the reality is that there’s a bigger picture involved. The reality is that in no way is that appropriate behaviour to display to junior golfers (or children in general) that may have been in attendance. Three years is a long freaking time but at least the KPGA did something that might deter this sort of thing in the future. There’s a huge part of me that would love to know what their policy is when one of their tour members maliciously damages a green or damages a golf course in the “heat of the moment”. Would they hand out disciplinary action for a breach of that etiquette? Now, I think that’s worthy of steep disciplinary action.
Conversely, however, it makes me think about the PGA TOUR and European Tour (for that matter). Would they take any sort of action regarding an incident? My answer is no. It’s clear that the likes of PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan in all likelihood wouldn’t. Look at Bryson DeChambeau damaging a green earlier this year. No recourse from the TOUR office for his actions. Or how about Sergio Garcia in Dubai? The European Tour did nothing either. Essentially, the commissioners of their respective tours look spineless and cowardly. One could speculate that the “inmates are running the asylum”. Sometimes in life example’s need to be made.
For those worrying about Bio Kim and his livelihood being threatened. I’m sure that we’ll see him emerge elsewhere. Between the Asian Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour and sponsor’s exemptions elsewhere he’ll be getting more than his fair share of opportunities to make money.
At the end of the day, the KPGA held a player accountable for his actions and to me… that’s a great thing. I just hope that they (the KPGA) stick to their convictions. But it raises another question for me. If it was Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, or Bryson Dechambeau would anything have been done to those players? My hypothesis is no, not a damn thing. Folks, there is a double-standard in this world and the golf world is a microcosm of what society is and has become. Where the elite and wealthy are treated oh-so differently.
At the very least Kim and the KPGA got their 15 minutes in a world view. How many of us knew the name Bio Kim before this of gave a crap what happened on the KPGA? Is three years too long for Kim’s actions? Was it an over-reaction? Perhaps. After all, Kim did make an obscene gesture. Who knows? Maybe the other tours may decide to grow a pair and follow the example set by the KPGA and start handing out discipline. Quite frankly, they need to.
Until The Next Tee!!