Bird-Flipping Golfer Kim Bi-o Gets Reduced Suspension

  • By Choi Soo-hyun

    October 24, 2019 13:18

    Golfer Kim Bi-o apologizes to fans on his knees at the Korea Professional Golfers' Association headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province on Oct. 1. /Yonhap

    Golfer Kim Bi-o was handed a one-year suspension for raising his middle finger to the gallery at a tournament in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province last month.

    Kim was initially given a three-year ban, but it was whittled down to one year by the disciplinary committee of the Korea Professional Golfers' Association on Wednesday.

    Additionally he was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service with a W10 million fine (US$1=W1,172).

    Annoyed by the sound of cellphone cameras going off at the tournament on Sept. 29, Kim flipped off the gallery and slammed his golf club into the ground.

    He won the tournament and apologized after the win, but criticism mounted as his outburst was broadcast live on TV.

    But some fans defended him, saying taking pictures during a swing is not acceptable as it would disturb a player, and the penalty was too harsh.

    Golfer Kim Bi-o raises his middle finger to the gallery at a tournament in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province on Sept. 29, in this grab from JTBC.

    The association said Kim regretted what he did and felt sorry for his "inappropriate" behavior.

    Kim will be able to compete again starting in 2021.

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