Sang-Moon Bae’s PGA Tour career could be on hold after he was denied an extension of his visa for overseas travel, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Like all men between the ages of 18 and 35, Bae, 28, faces military conscription in his home country of South Korea, meaning he must serve in the armed forces for two years.
Bae’s travel visa expires at the end of the month, and he needs to return to South Korea within 30 days or face criminal charges, according to the report.
Bae, who won the Frys.com Open in October, earned permanent U.S. residency in 2013 and applied to have his overseas travel permit extended for up to three years, but the Military Manpower Administration can impose military service on those who have spent a total of six months – or three consecutive months – in South Korea. Bae reportedly spent 133 days in South Korea this year, but not consecutively, a stay that the law firm representing Bae says falls within the legal limit.
An official at the firm said, “Bae has spent some time in South Korea recently but his occupation as a touring professional golfer must be taken into account. He should still be considered an overseas resident who has spent a year or more in the United States after getting his residency. It’s up to Bae to take legal action as his last resort.”
At No. 84 in the world, Bae is a strong contender to represent South Korea at the 2016 Olympics. He is a two-time PGA Tour winner and currently sits at No. 2 on the FedEx Cup points list.