Scottie Scheffler wins PGA Tour event after 6 climate protesters run onto 18th green and spray powder

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Six people protesting climate change stormed the 18th green while the leaders were lining up their putts on the final hole of regulation at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship on Sunday, delaying the finish for about five minutes.

The protesters sprayed white and red powder, leaving stains on the grass before Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia finished their rounds. At least one member of the group was wearing a white T-shirt with the words “NO GOLF ON A DEAD PLANET” in black lettering on the front.

Scottie Scheffler won the championship in a playoff, waiting out a disruption for his sixth victory of the year. That’s the most wins in one PGA Tour season since Tiger Woods had six in 2009. And Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked player, still has two months to go.

Travelers Championship - Final Round Climate change protestors are ushered off the 18th green by police officers during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 23, 2024, in Cromwell, Connecticut.

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“I was scared for my life,” Bhatia said about the protesters after finishing in a tie for fifth — four strokes behind Scheffler, who earned his sixth victory of the year. “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.”

After the protesters 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.

Travelers Championship - Final Round Scottie Scheffler poses with the trophy on the 18th green after putting in to win in a playoff during the final round of the Travelers Championship on June 23, 2024, in Cromwell, Connecticut.

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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.”

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

The Cromwell Police Department Sunday evening confirmed six protesters, ranging from age 25 to 55, were arrested. All were charged with criminal mischief, criminal trespass and breach of peace. “The reason for their protesting will not be released, as the department does not want to give their cause any more attention than what has already been received,” police said. 

Travelers Championship - Final Round Climate change protestors are ushered off the 18th green by police officers during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 23, 2024, in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After the players putted out in regulation, workers with leaf blowers came out to clean off the remaining powder, and the hole location was moved for the playoff, which began on No. 18. Scheffler beat Kim with a par on the first playoff hole.

“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.”

Scheffler’s victory came a few weeks after prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him on May 29, less than two weeks after he was arrested outside the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

Scheffler was initially charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic when he was arrested outside Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club, which was hosting the tournament.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell told a judge his office couldn’t move forward with the charges against the world’s top golfer based on the evidence and he moved to dismiss the case.

After the charges were dropped, Scheffler said on social media that he didn’t hold any ill will toward the detective who arrested him.