World number three golfer Jon Rahm thinks he can help Im Sung-jae win an Olympic medal to be exempted from military service in his homeland.

And Rahm is willing if his colleagues from kimchi know how to express their sincerity in a “reciprocal way to satisfy each other”.

“If I have to go to the bronze medal with him, I will accept three putts to close the last hole for Im to win on the condition that he has to bribe. I like Korean food very much. I want to discuss this anytime”, Rahm joke.

The Spanish golfer at first did not know that the Korean athletes who finished in the top 3 at the Olympics would be exempt from military service. He just realized this on May 18 when he expressed his desire to attend the Summer Olympics this year during a media exposure before the major PGA Championship. At that time, a reporter mentioned that Im needed an Olympic medal to avoid enlistment for two years according to the local law, which applies to male citizens aged 18-28.

Im Sung-jae is still at the age to perform his military service, if not for his sports achievements.  Photo: Yonhap

Im Sung-jae is still at the age to do his military service, if not for his sports achievements. Image: Yonhap

The second condition to be exempted from military service in Korea is the Asiad gold medal. But Asian Games golf is only for high-achieving amateurs.

Bae Sang-moon is a good example to come up with when discussing the impact of two years of military service on an individual golf career. Bae owns two PGA Tour titles, but had to put down the stick in 2015 to do military service with his homeland. After being discharged from the army, Bae is still struggling to find his form. From being in the top 100 five years ago, he is now 783rd OWGR.

Yesterday, Rahm was afraid that Im would be in the same scene as Bae. “I think Im must win an Olympic medal, so that he doesn’t have to join the army. When he was in the army, even in the most leisurely unit, he couldn’t practice golf. That was the biggest obstacle to his career later on. “, Rahm commented.

Im 23 years old. He and another compatriot – 25-year-old Si Woo Kim – have both won the PGA Tour and are now more open to the Olympics than other compatriots thanks to occupying the two highest positions in Korean golf on the world golf rankings – Im standing 23, Kim 50. After them is Lee Kyoung-hoon, at 59th. Last weekend, Lee won the PGA Tour for the first time, at the Byron Nelson tournament. Lee was born in 1991. When he was still in the army, he was exempted thanks to the team gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games.

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