Cape Town - Golfer Bae Sang-moon's form
plunged over the last few months after South Korea's military ordered him to
fulfil his national service obligations, but Internationals skipper Nick Price
hopes he can turn it around in time for the Presidents Cup.
Bae, who has won twice on the PGA Tour and
was granted US residency in 2013, was charged in February with violating
national service laws after failing to return home when his overseas travel
The 29-year-old had hoped the courts would
allow him to delay his military service and continue his career on the
lucrative US tour but last month the military's case was upheld and Bae
accepted the ruling.
With the country still technically at war
with the North after the 1950-53 Korean War, all South Korean men between 18
and 35 must complete two years of military service.
The uncertainty clearly affected Bae's
He missed eight cuts in 18 PGA Tour events
since February, dropping outside the top 100 in the world and to 25th in the
standings for the biennial Presidents Cup clash between the United States and
an International team minus Europe.
He also suffered a back injury which forced
him to withdraw from an event in Texas in March.
With only the top 10 qualifying
automatically for Price's team, the Zimbabwean will have to weigh up using one
of his two captain's picks on Bae.
That decision takes on an extra dimension
given the Presidents Cup will be held in South Korea this October, the first
time in Asia.
"He's obviously had some really tough
issues to deal with this year with regard to his service, and I think that's
been on his mind the past few months, and that's probably affected his form
quite drastically," Price said of Bae.
The October 8-11 competition will be played
at Incheon's Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, a course where Bae has won the
Korean Tour's Shinhan Donghae Open for the last two years.
"I still haven't spoken to him as to
when he has to go and start his service," said Price. "But I'd like
to see him play a little better the next four or five weeks."
Without a Korean player in the top 10,
Price also has BMW PGA Championship winner An Byeong-hun and South Korea-born
Danny Lee sitting just outside the automatic qualification places.
Even if his team does not include a home
player, however, he has Tour veteran KJ Choi as his vice captain.
"It would be sad if we don't get a
Korean on the team, it really would," he added.
"But that's a decision we're going to
have to make September 8."