January 08, 2015

South Korean PGA Golfer May Be Conscripted into Military: PGA golfer Sang-Moon Bae is facing military conscription for his country South Korea. The 28-year-old is the top-ranked Korean in golf at No. 84 after winning the Frys.Com Open last year, but his 2015 season is in peril. He asked for a visa extension and it was denied without explanation by his country's military. "I will take legal action. I couldn't understand why they denied it," he said.

posted by rcade to golf at 01:52 PM - 3 comments

The South Korean baseball team players were exempted from military service after advancing to the semifinals of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and when they won the 2010 Asian Games tournament. Olympic athletes receive exemptions if they win a medal at the Olympics.

It seems odd that the strongest/fittest men are the ones getting the exemptions...

posted by grum@work at 04:13 PM on January 08, 2015

Exemptions aren't really that odd since (and I arrogantly say this having never served :) ) I assume in the modern military, beyond basic fitness the skills are not about strength or endurance but use of sophisticated military tools. However, if SK is a country with mandatory 1 or 2 year service periods for young men/people, then I'd agree an exemption would seem unfair, even for a pro golfer. Of course, I'd assume people would serve in their 18/19 years... how did he even make it to 28 without doing his duty?

But generally, exemptions for the athleticly elite (or others) isn't that surprising, since we don't force march foot soldiers and pikemen for days across Europe anymore, or have pitched sword fights in a muddy field, so someone who's 5'2" and has asthma can still follow orders, work well in a group, and aim and fire as well as any Olympic track and field star.

Well... maybe not specifically the biathletes. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:50 PM on January 08, 2015

It seems like there's a compromise solution here that would let him keep his military commitment during golf's off-season.

posted by rcade at 06:17 PM on January 08, 2015

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