Bio Kim’s three-year suspension from the Korean Tour for making an obscene gesture in the direction of spectators at a tournament last month was reduced to one year on Wednesday, according to a report by the Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo.
The 29-year-old’s ban was cut down by the disciplinary committee of the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association. Kim was also ordered to perform 120 hours of community service. A previous fine of 10 million won (approximately $12,000) also remains in place.
Kim, who played on the PGA Tour in 2011, had become upset when a mobile phone camera went off during his swing on the 16th tee in the final round of the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open. He turned and flipped off the crowd before slamming his club into the ground.
Kim went on to win the tournament, his second victory of the season, and apologised afterwards for the incident, but it wasn’t enough. The Korean Tour unanimously voted to suspend him for three years and in a statement said, “Kim Bi-o damaged the dignity of a golfer with etiquette violation and inappropriate behaviour.”
But numerous fans, as well as PGA Tour player Kevin Na, came to Kim’s defence, most feeling the penalty was too severe. According to Wednesday’s report, the Korean PGA said Kim regretted what he had done and that he felt sorry for his “inappropriate” behaviour.
Kim, who was the tour’s leading money-winner at the time he was suspended, will be able to return to the tour in 2021.