Sang-moon Bae loses court battle, faces mandatory military service
OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) – Sang-Moon Bae said Wednesday he plans to play the rest of the PGA Tour season before submitting to his mandatory military service in South Korea.
Bae was denied an extension of his visa at the start of the year and challenged it in court. Yonhap news service said Bae lost his legal battle to have his mandatory service deferred. The debate was whether Bae had spent enough time out of South Korea last year.
"I completely respect the court's decision, and I humbly accept the judgment by the law," he told Yonhap. "I am sorry to those who have supported me, including all my fans and South Koreans, for causing anxiety."
The 29-year-old Bae is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the season-opening Frys.com Open last October. He was hopeful that victory would help him make the Presidents Cup team because the matches will be played this year for the first time in South Korea.
Bae is No. 23 in the standings, and only the top 10 qualify.
"My plan is to play as much as I can the rest of this season the PGA Tour and into the FedExCup playoffs before reporting for my military duty in South Korea," Bae said from the RBC Canadian Open, where he is playing this week.
Bae is No. 29 in the FedExCup standings and already has earned just over $2 million this season.
By winning the Frys.com Open, Bae is exempt on the PGA Tour through the 2016-17 season, though he will be in the military for most of it.
Earlier this year, the PGA Tour board preliminary approved an amendment to tournament regulations so that "mandatary obligation" is considered with its provision on major medical issues and a family crisis. The board is scheduled to ratify the amendment at its meeting next week.
That would give Commissioner Tim Finchem discretion to grant an extension on Bae's eligibility on the PGA Tour.
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