Kevin Na had harsh words for the Korean Tour this week after it suspended Bio Kim for three seasons after an obscene gesture, something he thinks is “extreme.”
Kim, the Korean Tour’s leading money winner this season, was suspended for three years after flipping the bird in the middle of a round at the DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu Gyeongbuk Open. Kim reportedly flipped off a photographer who clicked his camera during his tee shot before slamming his club into the ground and walking down the fairway.
Kim apologized for his obscene gesture, and was fined more than $8,000. Still, the Tour unanimously voted to suspend the 29-year-old for three seasons.
That punishment, Na said Wednesday ahead of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, was wildly excessive. Na said Kim told him photographers had been taking pictures during his swing throughout the round, too, and he just finally snapped.
“Yes, what he did was wrong,” Na said, via the Golf Channel. “Should he be fined? Yes. Three years is ridiculous. You’re taking a man’s job for three years.
“Yes, he was unprofessional and there should be consequences for it, but don’t take a man’s job away for three years.”
Na, who is also from Seoul, South Korea, became close with Kim during the 2011 season when they were both on the PGA Tour. Kim struggled that year, though, missing the cut 15 times before dropping down to the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour China. Eventually, he found his home on the Korean Tour.
While he will likely look for a new Tour to call home, and could even try to earn his PGA Tour card again, Na said the suspension hit Kim hard — especially given the fact that his wife is pregnant with their first child.
“He’s depressed. I mean, I can hear it in his voice,” Na said, via the Golf Channel. “I said, ‘You know what? I know you’re going through a rough time. Be good to your wife. I am sure it’s hard for her.’”
Na said Wednesday that he’s put in a good word with “some people high up in the Korean society” and been working to help Kim find a new spot to play during his suspension in Korea.
Still, Na doesn’t understand how — after just his first offense — Kim is now out of a job for three years.
“You can’t take a man’s job away for three years for one incident,” Na said, via the Golf Channel. “Everybody makes mistakes. Like I said, if this was fifth or sixth offense, I get it. But when you have no offenses and have had good behavior, you’re a good guy, people like him — you can’t do that to a person.”
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