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Protesters storm green in front of Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim to delay ending of Travelers Championship

June 23, 2024
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James Gilbert

CROMWELL, Conn. — Play at the end of regulation was disrupted as protesters stormed the group of Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia at the 18th hole at the Travelers Championship Sunday.

With Scheffler needing to make his birdie putt to win and Kim both his own make and a Scheffler miss to force a playoff, five individuals emerged from the crowd surrounding the 18th green at TPC River Highlands. The individuals had cans with green and red smoke, which left residue on the green, with one of the individuals running into the greenside bunker. In total five people ran onto the playing surface.

The group appeared to be environmental protesters, with four of the individuals wearing white shirts with the message, “No golf on a dead planet.” Police officers captured and escorted the individuals off the green, putting them into the back of cruisers.

"I mean, I was scared for my life," Bhatia said afterward. "I didn't even really know what was happening. All of a sudden, four, five people come out running on the green. Yeah, I mean, it was kind of weird. But thankfully the cops were there and kept us safe, because that's, you know, that's just weird stuff."

"Yeah, it was a lot to go with. Who prepares for someone, for four people to run with, I don't know what they had, but 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 added. "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."

The ensuing mess led to a delay as PGA Tour and course officials worked to get the green in proper shape. The crowd cheered the officers and the maintenance staff, serenading both crews with chants of, “USA! USA! USA!”

After a short pause, Scheffler missed his birdie attempt and Kim made his, forcing sudden death between the two.

"Protesters at the Travelers Championship during Sunday’s final around were immediately arrested by members of law enforcement," a PGA Tour official said in a statement. "The powder on the green was removed, resulting in no damage to the 18th green. Our thanks to the Cromwell Police Department for their quick and decisive action."

Because of the mess on the 18th, officials cut a new pin position, away from the area where spray paint remained and where the individuals had trampled on.

Scheffler ultimately won the playoff over Kim for his sixth win of the PGA Tour season.