PGA Tour's Travelers delayed as protesters storm 18th green

ByABC News
June 23, 2024, 4:59 PM

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Six people came out of the crowd and stormed the 18th green while the leaders were lining up their putts on the final hole of regulation at the Travelers Championship on Sunday, delaying the finish of the PGA Tour event for about five minutes.

The people came from all directions and sprayed white and red powder -- leaving stains on the grass before Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia finished their rounds -- before they were apprehended quickly. At least one of the group was wearing a white T-shirt that said, "NO GOLF ON A DEAD PLANET."

The crowd surrounding the 18th green heckled the protesters by yelling profanities and cheered the police who intervened.

After the intruders were tackled by police and taken off, Scheffler left a potential 26-foot clincher from the fringe on the right edge of the cup, then tapped in for par.

Kim, who trailed by one stroke heading into the final hole, sank a 10-foot birdie putt to tie Scheffler and send the tournament to a sudden-death playoff.

"They left a lot of marks on the greens, which is not right for us players -- especially when two guys are trying to win a golf tournament," Kim said. "But I'm very grateful for the tour and the tour security for handling that really well and making us players feel a lot safer."

Workers with leaf blowers came out to clean off the remaining paint. The hole location was moved before the playoff, with Scheffler and Kim set to play the 18th hole again.

Scheffler ultimately won it on the first hole of the playoff, his sixth victory of 2024. 

"I was scared for my life," Bhatia said after finishing in a tie for fifth. "I didn't even really know what was happening. ... But thankfully the cops were there and kept us safe, because that's, you know, that's just weird stuff."

Kim said the protest took his mind off the pressure.

"It kind of slowed things down," he said. "It took the meaning of the putt away for a second. Because for the past 17 and a half holes all you're thinking about is golf, and suddenly when that happens your mind goes into a complete -- like, you're almost not even playing golf anymore. I thought it was a dream for a second."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.