if you dare...
North Korean Open Field Shrinks
By Torleif Sorenson on 1/17/14
Yes, Virginia, there is a North Korean Amateur Open golf tournament. In fact, Josh Sens of Golf Magazine played in the second edition. The event is still held at Pyongyang Golfjang, some 27 km from the center of the North Korean capital. You can even enter the tournament yourself; the 2014 event will be played on July 27 and 28 at the same course. The only exclusions are for South Korean and Japanese golfers, who are not permitted.
But now, as Sens reports, registrations for the fourth annual North Korean Amateur Open have plunged. At one point, fifteen golfers had entered the event, which is organized by Dylan Harris, owner of Lupine Travel, based in Lancashire in England. However, Sens reports that that number is down by almost half.
Harris also runs non-golf-related organized tours of North Korea, Chernobyl, Iran, and Iraq, amongst other interesting locales.
Unfortunately, between former basketball star (and obvious Mensa candidate) Dennis Rodman's bizarre, flailing attempt at international diplomacy, the imprisonment of an 85-year-old American veteran by the North Korean government, the shocking execution of Jang Song-thaek ordered by his nephew, current DPRK dictator Kim Jong-un and the resulting upheaval with China, would-be participants are withdrawing and staying away. While some people are attracted toward seeing the North Korean police state when it makes news, golfers have quite the opposite reaction. Says Harris:
"...it works the opposite way around with the golf tournament. The majority of those interested in playing are a lot more cautious about visiting."But in an attempt to sooth frayed nerves, Harris offered this:
"As I'm now in my eighth year of arranging tours to there, I know the reality is if you have no past history with North Korea and you're not trying to break any laws, such as illegally cross the border or hand out foreign literature, then it is a perfectly safe country to visit."Perfectly safe??? (cough!)
In terms of intellectual curiosity, visiting North Korea would a fascinating adventure. But considering the harsh reality of the leftist, totalitarian Juche police state that North Korea is, visitors to that imprisoned territory are quite literally taking their lives in their own hands.
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Image via WCBS-TV, Wikipedia
[ comments ]
joe jones says:
Didn't the previous dictator once claim that he shot 18 on that golf course ( all holes in one). Maybe they should claim that he is still alive and will grace the tournament with his presence. That should attract an international field of braggarts and they each can break one sort of golf record or the other.
I understand that that tournament has really gone to the dogs!
Torleif Sorenson says:
Joe I don't think it was an 18, I think it was closer to 30. I guess even Kim Jong-Il can't ace par 5s.
If the US gov't could somehow guarantee my safe and timely return home I would totally enter this. Those commies would have their hands full with me and my in your face American attitude.
i have friends that have visited and they enjoyed themselves. i'm trying to find a partner who would do this with me, but Americans are only able to fly into the country. we can't take a bus or a train. also, you're flying in on those Chinese or Russian made planes, and from what i understand, you should avoid those at all costs.
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