File under WTF:
Encouraged by the success of last year’s inaugural tournament, the misleadingly-titled Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has announced the expansion of its national amateur championship.
This year’s event, scheduled to take place in May, will be played over 54 holes and hopes to attract a significantly larger field.
According Dylan Harris – owner of specialist tour operator Lupine Travel, the sponsor of last year’s tournament- the response of North Korean authorities has been positively enthusiastic.
Speaking to the Korea Times, Harris explained the genesis of the new format:
“I was contacted by a client in the summer of 2010 asking if he could go to North Korea and play golf… my initial thoughts were that it would be impossible for tourists…
“‘I decided to ask anyway, just to see the reaction, which I expected to be a big, resounding “no”.’
Contrary to expectations, officials in Pyongyang didn’t just answer in the affirmative, they broached the idea of a follow-up tournament.
Recent reductions in food aid appear to have left the the regime desperate for foreign currency, however modest the sums involved.