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PGA’s Frys.com Open begins without its reigning champ Bae Sang-moon

October 15, 2015
Bae Sang-Moon of South Korea, right, is greeted by his caddy and spray from sparkling wine on the 18th green of the Silverado Resort North Course after winning the Frys.com PGA Tour golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Napa, Calif. Bae Sang-Moon won the tournament after shooting a 1-over-par 73 to finish at total 15-under-par. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Bae Sang-moon of South Korea, right, is greeted by his caddy and spray from sparkling wine on the 18th green of the Silverado Resort North Course after winning the Frys.com PGA Tour golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Napa, Calif. Bae Sang-Moon won the tournament after shooting a 1-over-par 73 to finish at total 15-under-par. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Brian Han

The PGA Tour kicked off its season Thursday even though it just ended less than a month ago in Georgia where 22-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth took hom golf’s ultimate $15 million dollar prize.

For the third year in a row, the idea of an offseason has been done away with, but something is a bit different.

The season opener Frys.com Open will not feature a returning champion. In this case, that would be South Korea’s best golfer Bae Sang-moon.

When he played at the Presidents Cup in Incheon, South Korea last week, he avoided all questions regarding his two-year mandatory military service — a situation that will put his bright future on hold for two years.

The 29-year-old put together a string of memorable performances during the competition with the highlight being six consecutive birdies in a team match with partner Hideki Matsuyama.

But on the final day with a chance to take home the trophy, he faltered on the last hole. His club caught too much turf before a critical chip and that was that. For the ninth time in the last 12 events, the U.S. took home the trophy once again.

It was a bittersweet ending to say the least.

“I didn’t play well,” he told reporters afterward. “I feel bad right now, but it’s all right. It was a good memory. I had a really good week this week. It was awesome.”

South Korean fans can only hope that he’ll take this experience and come back stronger in two years when he is done serving his country. In fact, he’ll even be able to practice and keep his game sharp while in the military.

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