The Korean Professional Golfers’ Association has reduced a suspension for a player who made an obscene gesture to fans during a tournament in September.
Bio Kim, 29, was originally suspended for three years, but the tour’s board of directors reduced it to one year on Wednesday, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Kim was fined $8,350 and must complete 120 hours of community service.
Kim will be eligible to return to the Korean Tour next year, according to the report.
Holding a 1-shot lead on the 16th hole of the final round at the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open on Sept. 29, Kim reacted angrily after a cellphone camera went off during his downswing. His drive ended up going about 100 yards, according to the Korea Herald.
After the poor shot, Kim turned to the crowd, flipped off fans and slammed his driver into the ground. The incident was captured on live TV in Korea. Kim still won the tournament.
In a statement at the time, the Korean Tour said: “Kim Bi-o damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behavior.”
Kim was the Korean Tour’s Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2010, when he won scoring and money titles.
Kim made 19 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour with two top-25s and 11 missed cuts in 2018. After losing his PGA Tour card in 2011, he made 39 combined starts in 2012 and ’13 and earned $117,542 on the KFT.
South Korean Kevin Na, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, defended Kim at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas earlier this month. Na’s caddie, Kenny Harms, wore a “Free Bio Kim” hat during the tournament.
“Yes, what he did was wrong,” Na told Golf Channel. “Should he be fined? Yes. Three years is ridiculous.”
“You’re taking a man’s job for three years,” Na continued. “Yes, he was unprofessional and there should be consequence for it, but don’t take a man’s job away for three years.”