Army discipline helps Korean Hur shoot for success

Thu May 14, 2015 12:05am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hur In-hoi's freewheeling lifestyle came to a crashing halt the day his mandatory military service began but the South Korean golfer says the switch to a life of discipline and deprivation has been good for his game.

Hur is one of the lucky few to be chosen for the army's golf team, which was reformed earlier this year to take part in the Military World Games being hosted by Korea in October.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 to complete at least 21 months in the military as a deterrent to North Korean aggression, though top athletes can spend that time in the "Sangmu" sports teams.

But while Hur has been afforded the opportunity to continue playing, even to the extent of competing on the domestic pro tour, his life is no longer his own.

The army has him now.

"Everyone in Sangmu lives according to extremely strict schedules, regardless of which sport they play," Hur told Reuters by telephone.

"We have to report our every move, even going to the bathroom during training. We do morning and afternoon roll call... if there's a military event we take part, like 500 Sangmu soldiers all marching together following orders.

"It's really hard to get used to, especially for me since I was living a freewheeling lifestyle before coming into the military.   Continued...