Noh to soon begin military service in Korea
October 20, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Seung-yul Noh followed a 7-over-par 79 in Round 1 with a 7-under-par 65 in Round 2 during THE CJ CUP. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
South Korea’s Seung-yul Noh, a past winner on the PGA TOUR, announced this week that he will soon begin serving his mandatory two-year military commitment for his country. The CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, the TOUR’s first regular-season event in Korea, is expected to be Noh’s last TOUR start.
The 26-year-old Noh plans to begin his military service in November. The conscription applies to all Korean males between the ages of 18 and 35. Sangmoon Bae, a two-time TOUR winner, recently returned to the PGA TOUR after serving his commitment following the 2015 Presidents Cup. K.J. Choi, winner of THE PLAYERS Championship in 2011 and Korea’s most successful golfer, served at age 22.
There are exceptions that eliminate or reduce the commitment time. By winning a gold medal in the men’s team golf competition at the 2006 Asian Games, Sung Kang became exempt from service. Last year, Noh – who won the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans -- was hoping to qualify for the Rio Olympics, where he said winning an Olympic medal would reduce his commitment time to just a few weeks. But he did not make the two-man Korean team.
Since Noh finished inside the top 125 in FedExCup points during the 2016-17 season (110th), he has membership status secured for this new season. For the 2018-19 season, he will be eligible for a Major Mandatory Obligation extension. Of course, he’ll still be in the military at that point, so that extension will carry over into the 2019-20 season when he returns to competition following the completion of his two-year stint.
The Major Mandatory Obligation category, which plays out of the Major Medical category in terms of priority order, will give Noh the opportunity to make an as-yet-undetermined number of PGA TOUR starts in hopes of acquiring enough FedExCup points greater than or equal to No. 125 for this season.
The Mandatory Obligation Extension was added to the Major Medical/Family Crisis Extension in July of 2015 to PGA TOUR Regulations by the PGA TOUR Policy Board, when it became official Bae would have to serve his mandatory military obligation following the Presidents Cup.
Noh was eliminated from the 2017 FedExCup Playoffs when he missed the cut at THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first Playoffs event. Since then, his only start before this week was the Genesis Championship on the Korean Tour in September. He had reduced his playing schedule while preparing for his commitment and originally was not scheduled to play the CJ CUP. But when Ernie Els withdrew due to the flu, a spot opened up and the tournament extended an invitation to Noh, who was born in Gangwon-do, Korea.
He said the lack of practice contributed to his opening 7-over 79, but he bounced back in the second round to shoot a 7-under 65.
“I have not played much golf for the past three weeks after the Genesis Championship,” Noh said. “I arrived here on Monday and worked very hard to prepare for this Cup on Tuesday and Wednesday. But that three weeks of absence seemed to be quite significant and I just did not know how to swing yesterday. I practiced for about an hour after my round yesterday, and I think I was able to regain my sense of swing, which made the difference.”
No matter how he finishes, the four rounds at Nine Bridges will be special for him, especially since his dad is also his caddie this week.
“When I first became a pro, my dad used to caddie for me for a couple of years and we traveled a lot together,” Noh said. “After that, I was traveling alone or my sister was by my side. As you know, since I will be joining the army, I currently do not have a caddie. My dad caddied for me in the last tournament and thought he was still good enough, and that’s why he joined me for THE CJ CUP.”Seung-yul Noh and Sangmoon Bae play a practice round at Augusta National before the 2015 Masters Tournament. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)