Korean Golfer Bio Kim Banned for Three Years After Middle Finger Salute

  • Fined and banned by the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association
  • Punishment follows Kim's gesture toward a fan when phone distracted him
  • Korean went on to win the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Open and has since issued an apology
Golfer preparing to hit a white golf ball off of a tee.
Korean golfer Bio Kim has been fined and banned by the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association after making an obscene gesture toward a spectator. [Image: Shutterstock]

Punishment announced

Korean golfer Bio Kim has been banned from participating in events on the Korean Tour for three years after making an obscene gesture toward fans during a recent event that he won.

In addition to a three-year ban, the 29-year-old was also fined £6,750 ($8,311) by the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association (KPGA).

This punishment follows heavy criticism of the golfer’s behavior during the final round of the Korean Tour’s DGB Financial Group Volvik Daegu-Gyeongbuk Open.

Distraction from crowd

A smartphone rang from somewhere within the waiting crowd during his tee shot on the 16th hole. The ball went just 100 yards. Kim’s reaction to being distracted was to raise his middle finger toward the crowd.

Despite this incident, Kim went on to win the event for his second win of the year on the Korean Tour, which he leads in terms of top earners.

The Korean Professional Golfers’ Association called into question the player’s behavior immediately before voting on his punishment. After voting unanimously to both fine and suspend him, the KPGA released a statement that said Kim had

Damaged the dignity of a golfer with an etiquette violation and inappropriate behavior.”

The PGA Tour has also said that Kim will not be eligible to participate in their events until a review has been completed.

Reaction went viral

Despite Kim apologizing after the event and even kneeling in front of the waiting cameras to plead for leniency, the video of his gesture has since gone viral. He was then ordered to attend a hearing in Seoul to learn his fate from the KPGA.

Kim has been a professional golfer since 2010. He played 19 events on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018, making eight cuts and taking home a total of $36,760 in prize money.