Golf: Price names Bae, despite order to do military service

South Korean golfer Bae Sang Moon.
South Korean golfer Bae Sang Moon.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • International captain Nick Price is confident Bae Sang Moon will be able to participate in next month's Presidents Cup after naming the soon-to-be conscripted South Korean golfer as one of his two captain's picks.

In July, a South Korean court ruled that the two-time PGA Tour winner must return home to complete two years of mandatory military service. It is something all able-bodied Korean men must do between the ages of 18 and 35.

Bae has agreed to put his golfing career on hold and will return to Korea to comply with the court order.

Price said he had taken soundings from authorities in South Korea about Bae's availability for the Oct 6-11 event in Incheon. He was told there would be no problems.

Price selected Australia's Steven Bowditch as his other pick.

The Zimbabwean said he had been keen to select Bae due to his successful record at the venue for the Presidents Cup. The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club is where he has twice won the KPGA Shinhan Donghae Open in recent years.

Meanwhile, United States captain Jay Haas completed his 12-strong party by naming Phil Mickelson and his son Bill as captain's picks.

Five-time Major winner Mickelson, 45, had finished outside the automatic qualifying spots. It put him at risk of ending a remarkable sequence of 20 consecutive Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams.

But Haas said there was never any question of Mickelson, who was 30th in the qualification standings and has not won for two years, not being selected.

"Phil has been a veteran of many, many, many teams without needing a pick - so if anyone deserves a pick, it is Phil Mickelson," he said.

"He is without question the leader of our team, in the team room, on the golf course."

Bill Haas had also finished just outside the automatic qualification spots at 11th.

"He put himself under a lot of self-induced pressure to make the team but, to be honest, I would probably have picked the 11th person regardless of what their name was," his father said.

"I feel Bill deserves this as much as anybody, he has had a wonderful year."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Price names Bae, despite order to do military service'. Print Edition | Subscribe