WHEN something seems too good to be true it’s often because it is. Take the ‘amazing’ story of two Brisbane men who supposedly ‘duped’ North Korean officials into thinking they were golf pros so they could tee up in the country’s national Golf Open.
The story told by businessmen Morgan Ruig and Evan Shay has been recycled around the world since first surfacing on Brisbane’s Channel Nine news this week.
The pair have appeared on Channel 10’s The Project and their story has been retold on websites including US based magazine Golf Digest, Golf Channel, the Daily Mail and SB Nation.
The only golf tournament staged in North Korea each year is, in fact, an amateur event.
Or more accurately, an adventure holiday which includes a one day golf ‘tournament’ and is open to any golfer of any ability level from anywhere in the world (except South Korea).
UK based company Lupine Travel have been hosting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Amateur Golf Open at the Pyongyang Golf Complex since 2011.
In its now six-year history, the title has been won by players from five different nations, two of those victors sporting a handicap of 22.
This year’s tournament was held on October 8-9 and won by Polish 10-marker Lukasz Tomiewicz.
None of which seems to have been recognised either by the men themselves or any of the news outlets running the story.
Brisbane’s Courier Mail was just one of the major organisations to run with the story, branding Ruig and Shay “Brisbane’s own international men of mystery”.
US website SB Nation trumpeted: “2 Australian men pretended to be pro golfers and faked their way into the North Korean Open” while Golf Digest’s headline read “Pair of Australian hackers pull ultimate prank by posing as pros to play in North Korea Golf Championship.”
Ruig and Shay say they were in Beijing playing a polo tournament when they heard about the North Korean Open.
According to their story, they sent off an email to enquire about playing and received a reply asking if they were the ‘Australian team’.
“We didn’t say no,” Ruig said.
"We just emailed them really. I don't think they're massive on the internet over there so I don't think they had many opportunities to research," Shay told Daily Mail Australia.
"We didn't think we'd actually be accepted."
They need not have feared. Not only is the tournament not run by the North Korean government, it is open to golfers of all abilities.
“The event is open to all amateur golfers (except those with South Korean passports),” Lupine Travel, the official organiser, states on their website.
And no need to ‘dupe’ any North Korean officials, either, as the website also makes clear.
“Bookings are taken exclusively through British travel agents Lupine Travel.”
Photo: Lupine Travel
THE WEEK IN GOLF TALKS TO TODD GRAVES ABOUT THE LEGENDARY MOE NORMAN: