Si Woo Kim And SungJae Im Skip Open Championship To Prepare For Olympics

Si Woo Kim And SungJae Im Skip Open Championship To Prepare For Olympics

SungJae Im and Si Woo Kim
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The South Korean pair have decided to skip the Open Championship to prepare for the Olympic games in Tokyo.

Si Woo Kim And SungJae Im Skip Open Championship To Prepare For Olympics

With golf's oldest Major on the horizon, the PGA Tour winners have decided to withdraw from the event and focus on claiming a potential gold medal.

In three Open Championship starts, Kim's best finish is only a T67th, with his countryman, Im, never making a cut at the Major, but it's not their poor records that are making them miss the event at Royal St George's.

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The actual reason is due to South Korea's mandatory military service, which all able-bodied 18 to 28 year olds must complete.

With the service lasting anywhere from 18 to 24 months, it has affected South Korean golfers previously.

Both Seung-Yul Noh and Sangmoon Bae had to take time out of their Tour careers to do their military service, with Noh returning to competition in 2020, and Bae completing his service in 2018.

However, by winning an Olympic gold medal they can obtain exemption from national service. The rule, which came into affect in 1973, was designed to boost South Korea's global prestige.

An example outside of golf was Tottenham's Son Heung-min, who was excused the full 21-month military service after helping South Korea to victory in the 2018 Asian Games.

SungJae Im and Si Woo Kim

Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min holds a best performance prize among all trainees during the completion ceremony at a Marine Corps boot camp in South Korea. (Photo by Republic of Korea Marine Corps via Getty Images)

Although he was still required to serve a shorter period, it was significantly less than the original mandatory commitment.

With Kim and Im withdrawing, they will be replaced by Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and American Keegan Bradley.

The Open Championship gets underway at Royal St George's on the 15th July, with Ireland's Shane Lowry looking to defend his Claret Jug.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x