The 39th Shinhan Donghae Open, hosted by Shinhan Financial Group (Chairman & CEO Jin Ok-dong), will be held at Club 72CC Ocean Course in Incheon, Korea, starting on July 7. Co-hosted for the first time in 2019 by the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour, Japan Professional Golf Tour, and Asian Tour, the Shinhan Donghae Open has become Asia’s leading tournament, and this year’s field will feature only the top players from the three tours.
However, there are some familiar names among the featured players. It’s Park Chan-ho, who once dominated the major leagues. This is the fifth time Park Chan-ho, who competed in the Gunsan CC Open in April 2021 and the Yamaha Honors K Open in July 2021, has competed in a regular Korean Tour event, following the Woori Financial Championship in May last year and the SK Telecom Open in June.
When he made his first appearance on the Korean Tour in 2021, he deserved to be applauded as a ‘promotional event’ considering the reality that men’s golf is not as popular as women’s golf. Park’s appearance was seen as an effort to attract the attention of fans and expose men’s professional golf to the media once more.
As an amateur with a certified handicap of 3 or less from the Korea Golf Association, Park’s participation in the Korean Tour as a recommended player was not against the rules. However, Park’s participation is no longer a hot topic or inspiring. I’m not referring to the fact that he failed to make the cut in each of his previous four starts, finishing in the bottom half of the field. This is not to diminish his accomplishments as a baseball player or his love of golf.
Park’s participation as an endorsed player diminishes the prestige of the Shinhan Donghae Open, which is billed as “Asia’s premier event” by the three tour co-hosts. An official from the men’s golf industry said, “I don’t know why Park Chan-ho is playing again, unless it’s a celebrity pro-am. Only top players from Korea, Japan, and Asia participate in the tournament. Shinhan Financial Group lowered the status of the tournament by including Park Chan-ho as a recommended player.” One player I met at the Korean Tour LX Championship last week said, “Not once or twice…. I feel self-deprecating as a professional golfer.”
Park Chan-ho will participate in the Shinhan Donghae Open Skins Charity, which will be held on the sixth, alongside celebrities and four players sponsored by Shinhan Financial. If Shinhan Financial Group wanted to ‘bring’ Park Chan-ho, his appearance at the Skins Charity would be enough.
It’s also worth pointing out that by giving Park a valuable roster spot, someone else who desperately wanted to play in the Shinhan Donghae Open was denied the opportunity. According to Korean Tour rules, the Korea Professional Golf Association and the title sponsor can nominate a professional or amateur player for no more than 10 percent of the field. This year’s Shinhan Donghae Open has a total of 138 players, of which eight were nominated by Shinhan Financial Group. The federation did not nominate any players. Shinhan Financial Group should have utilized its title sponsorship rights to select more deserving players, as it did with the inclusion of national team members Jang Yubin and Cho Woo-young in the roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games. If there was no one worthy, they should have only nominated seven players and allowed Park Chan-ho’s spot to go to the highest seeded player on the waiting list.먹튀검증
The Shinhan Donghae Open was founded in 1981 by a group of Korean-American golfers living in the Kansai region of Japan, led by the late Chairman Emeritus of Shinhan Bank, Lee Hee-geon, to promote goodwill with the golf community in their home country and to develop Korean golf and foster outstanding players. Called the Donghae Open Golf Championship, the tournament was renamed the Shinhan Donghae Open in 1989 after Shinhan Financial Group took over as the title sponsor. It is a pity that the Shinhan Donghae Open, which boasts a unique history and tradition, has lost its dignity and is taking a backward step.