Six climate protesters run to 18th green and spray powder, delaying finish of PGA Tour event

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Six climate protesters stormed the 18th green as leaders lined up on the final hole of regulation at the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour on Sunday, spraying smoke and powder and delaying the finish for about five minutes.

Protesters waved smoke bombs that left white and red residue on the playing surface before Scotty Scheffler, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia finished their rounds. Some wore white T-shirts with “NO GOLF ON A DEAD PLANET” written in black letters across the front.

“I was afraid for my life,” Bhatia said. “I didn’t really know what was going on. … But fortunately the cops were there and kept us safe, because, you know, this is just weird stuff.

The PGA Tour issued a statement thanking the Cromwell Police Department “for their quick and decisive actions” and noting that there was no damage to the 18th green that affected the end of regulation or the qualifying hole.

Scheffler, who He was arrested during a traffic stop at the PGA ChampionshipHe also praised the officers.

“From my point of view, it was dealt with very quickly, so we were very grateful for that,” said Schaeffler, the world’s No. 1 player. Who beat Kim on the first hole in a sudden-death playoff To achieve his sixth victory this year.

“When something like that happens, you don’t really know what’s going on, so it can upset you a little bit,” Scheffler said. “This can be a stressful situation, and you would hate for the tournament to end with something weird happening because of a situation like that. I felt like Tom and I tried to calm each other down so we could play our best there in the 18th.

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Extinction Rebellion, an activist group with a history of disrupting events around the world, claimed responsibility for the protest. In an emailed statement to The Associated Press, the group blamed climate change for an electrical storm that injured two people at a home near the stadium on Saturday.

“This was of course due to increasingly severe and unpredictable weather conditions,” the statement said. “Golf, more than other events, relies heavily on good weather. Therefore, golf fans should understand better than most the need for strong and immediate climate action.

After the protesters were dealt with by police and drove off, Scheffler left a potential 26-foot break from the edge on the right edge of the cup, then scored for par. Kim, who trailed by one stroke heading into the final hole, made a 10-foot birdie putt to tie Scheffler and force a playoff.

Kim said the protest took his mind off the pressure.

“That slowed things down,” he said. “It takes the meaning of the putt away for a second. Because for the last 17-and-a-half holes, all you’re thinking about is golf, and all of a sudden when that happens, your mind goes into a complete frenzy — like you’re almost not playing golf anymore. I thought it was a dream for a second.” one.

The crowd surrounding the 18th green harassed the protesters by shouting obscenities and chanting for police, who intervened. After the players cleared the rules, workers using leaf blowers came out to clean up the remaining powder.

The hole location was moved for the playoff, which was also the 18th. Scheffler parred the first hole of sudden death to win.

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“They left a lot of marks on the grass, which is not good for us players, especially when two guys are trying to win a golf tournament,” Kim said. “But I’m very grateful to the Tour and Tour Security for handling this really well and making us players feel safer.”

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AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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