With his last putt at the Tour Championship on Sunday, Sangmoon Bae hit the Pause button on his PGA Tour career.
Bae, who finished T-18 at East Lake, will not compete on the PGA Tour for almost the next two years. He is heading home to South Korea to play on the International team in the Presidents Cup in October. After that, he'll remain in his home country to start a 21-month term of conscripted military service.
“Really sad. I will miss these guys and this competition. I really like this Tour, and I will be back and stay patient and be strong,” Bae said Sunday, according to Golf Channel.
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Bae was told in December 2014 that he did not spend enough time outside of Korea for his golf career in the prior year to merit continued exemption from the military service required of every South Korean man at some point between the ages of 18 and 35. On multiple appeals, one through the military and another through a court, Bae lost. Rather than fight further, Bae decided to report for service. International team captain Nick Price added Bae to his Presidents Cup team with a captain's pick in September, creating a natural stopping point for Bae's golf career.
Bae won the Frys.com Open in October, earning a two-year exemption with his second PGA Tour win. After learning Bae would have to serve out the 21-month period, the PGA Tour agreed to change its regulations to allow Bae to maintain his Tour status when he returns from the military.