Golfer has bagged two titles and won more than £4.5million in prize money… and adds that military training means he’s hitting ball a mile
GOLFER Sang-Moon Bae plays his first tournament for two years this week – after ending his compulsory military service in the South Korean army.
Bae, 31 – who has won two titles and more than £4.5million on the US PGA Tour – spent 21 months as a rifleman and was discharged in August.
Military service is compulsory for all able-bodied South Korean males.
Bae, whose last pro tournament was at the 2015 Presidents Cup for the International team against the USA in his native South Korea, will play Thursday in the Shinhan Donghae Open in Incheon.
He says his time in the military has made him stronger, both mentally and physically.
And all the hard training he has done means he is now driving the ball further than ever.
Bae, who won the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship in 2013 and the Frys.com Open in 2014, said: “I didn’t have many opportunities to play golf when I was in the army.
“But whenever we had our vacations, they allowed us to do so.
“I’ve been dying to play golf. I want to get some practice in and get into tournament golf.
“I’ve been dreaming of the moment when I find myself in contention for a title.”
He entered the army in 2015 after losing a contracted court battle to fight his conscription.
South Korea and North Korea are currently under a cease fire, but the two never officially signed a peace treaty to end the Korean War.
Because of this, all men age 18 to 35 must serve two years of mandatory military service.
Bae, who at one time was ranked 26th in the world, had hoped his fame would give him an exemption.
He was discharged in August, and has been practicing hard to make up for the enforced break to his career.
But Bae said he is now glad to have served his country.
He said: “I’ve learned the value of perseverance each and every day, and I think this will form a great foundation for the rest of my life.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas give golf the rivalry it has cried out for since the days of Tiger Woods
OUT THE WOODS
Tiger Woods gets over the Lindsey Vonn nude leaks scandal as he enjoys Rafa Nadal’s box at US Open
DOWN TO A TEE
Who is Eilidh Barbour? BBC sports presenter and the face of the Beeb’s golf coverage – all you need to know
LIFE ON TOUR
Golfer Lee Slattery watches wife give birth to second child on FACETIME because he was out playing on European Tour
Here’s the lowdown on Kirsty Gallacher, the Sky Sports News presenter who’s been given a drink-driving ban
ian ryds on
Ian Poulter KO’s hecklers in Dell Technologies Championship and says such sniping fires him up
“I believe patience and perseverance will pay huge dividends in my golf career, too.
“I’m very happy to be back, playing among fellow professionals.
“It has been a month since I was discharged from the army and I’ve dedicated all my time to golf ever since.
“I’m looking forward to a good challenge this week and will be very interested to see where I finish on Sunday.”
Asked what he wanted to do most while in the military he said: “From the day when I was a private second class, a private first class and even the last day of the service, I wanted to be discharged from the military.
“I wanted to play in tournaments, I wanted to sleep at home and I wanted to drive.”
Bae, now ranked 1,869 in the world, plans to return to the USPGA Tour next month, which granted him a rare extension of his tour card.
He has won 15 tournaments around the world but has yet to contend in any of the majors.
Mour of that
Mesut Ozil eyes sensational switch to rivals Man United on a free transfer to reunite with Jose Mourinho
Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi kicks off over his new FIFA 18 rating and starts a war of words
Eden On Home
Chelsea confident that Eden Hazard will sign lucrative new contract until 2021 ‘in the coming weeks’
THE HONEY MAN
Floyd Mayweather reveals he has SEVEN girlfriends in bizarre interview with a PUPPET at his strip club
Stoke star Jese Rodriguez’s secret heartache as he reveals his premature baby son is being treated in Spanish hospital
RON GOES APE
Cristiano Ronaldo furious after having goal disallowed against APOEL thanks to goal-line technology