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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Bose

Travelers Championship: Protesters storm 18th hole, Scheffler unperturbed

A soon-to-be playoff between Tom Kim and world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler was marred on Sunday afternoon by six climate change protesters on the 18th hole at the 2024 Travelers Championship.

Kim (-21) trailed Scheffler (-22) by one stroke as the two approached the 18th tee box. Kim needed to birdie the 18th and for Scheffler to par to force a sudden death playoff. Both golfers’ landed their tee shots in the fairway, leaving good looks at the green. Kim’s second shot landed just inches from the hole before rolling a few feet away, while Scheffler’s landed just off the edge of the green, leaving a long birdie putt to win the tournament. But before Scheffler attempted his putt, six protesters stormed the 18th hole with smoke bombs, powdered flares, and t-shirts that read “NO GOLF ON A DEAD PLANET.” Ironically, to spread their message of climate awareness and protecting the planet, the protesters stained and damaged the grass, sand, and playing surface of a regularly nurtured, watered, and maintained golf course.

Police immediately arrested the protesters, who claimed affiliation with Extinction Rebellion – a movement dedicated to climate change awareness. Extinction Rebellion is the same group that attributed a lightning strike on Saturday to climate change, insisting that it was an example of “increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather conditions.” The group also said, “Golf, more than other events, is heavily reliant on good weather. Golf fans should therefore understand better than most the need for strong, immediate climate action.”

So, in other words, these people ruined an incredible event for both the spectators in attendance and the fans watching around the country to promote a cause that everyone watching already “understands better than most.” Got it.

Nevertheless, the golf continued.

While many might be flustered by damaged playing conditions and an altered putting surface at the most crucial point in the tournament, Scheffler and Kim were cool as cucumbers. 

Kim said, “It kind of slowed things down… It took the meaning of the putt away for a second.” Scheffler grinned as he watched the protestors storm the course and then immediately get tracked down and handcuffed by the police, possibly triggering some déjà vu from over a month ago.

Scheffler went first and nearly sunk his putt to win the tournament then and there. However, he left it just above the cup – enough room for Kim to sneak in the back door, tap in his birdie, and walk back to the 18th tee box to do it all again.

Kim and Scheffler put tee shots into the fairway, but their second shots looked much different post-protest than they did pre-protest. Scheffler stuck an iron shot on the green, while Kim missed to the right of the green, landing plugged in the bunker. He left himself an awkward lie, and his bunker shot rolled past the hole and beyond Scheffler’s ball. It was practically over after this. Scheffler would win with a par, notching his sixth victory of the year.

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