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Protesters disrupt Travelers final round with last group on 18 green

Protesters stormed the 18th green at TPC River Highlands and disrupted the final round of the Travelers Championship.

The incident occurred just after 4 p.m. ET, just as the final group of Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia arrived on the green and marked their balls. Kim was facing a 10-footer for birdie and a potential playoff with Scheffler, who held a one-shot lead over Kim and had about 26 feet left for his birdie.

CBS announcer Jim Nantz said he saw at least four protesters being detained by police, but not before the protesters set off what appeared to be smoke bombs and dumped white and red powdery substances on the putting surface. Bhatia had to move his mark away from the powder, which had been declared abnormal ground condition.

Kim forces playoff after protestors interrupt play
After waiting out a chaotic scene that saw protestors spray powdery substances around and on the green at the Travelers Championship's 72nd hole, Tom Kim drilled a clutch putt to force a playoff with Scottie Scheffler.

“They just came flying down the hill, right out of the gallery,” Nantz said.

A video shot by Golfweek’s David Dusek (the clip was later removed from X) showed five people being led away from the green by police, four of them wearing white T-shirts that read, NO GOLF ON A DEAD PLANET. As the protesters were removed, members of the crowd started chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”

The Associated Press reported that there were six protesters in total.

“I was scared for my life,” Bhatia said. “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. ... I was in shock and my heart rate was high. It got low and then once that kind of happened I was just freaked out.”

Play was delayed about 15 minutes before resuming without further issue.

Earlier in the day, the start of the DP World Tour’s KLM Open in the Netherlands was delayed about two hours because a climate advocacy group blocked the entrance to International Golf Club. That same group later took credit for the Travelers protest.

Kim eventually made his birdie putt to force extra holes with Scheffler. That’s when maintenance staff rushed to work at No. 18, raking the bunkers, blowing away the powdery substance and assessing any further damage to the green.

A new hole was cut for the playoff as well.

“It was just more like it kind of took like the meaning of the putt kind of a way for a second,” Kim said of the incident. “Because like for the past 17 and a half holes all you’re thinking about is golf, and suddenly when that happens you’re just like, your mind goes into a complete – like, you’re almost not even playing golf anymore. ... I thought it was a dream for a second. Like the security guards were tackling people and people were getting arrested, like it’s just, it’s really hard to see nowadays. Like I said, again, it kind of felt like it took my mind off of the moment and just kind of realized what was happening and obviously even though those people did something bad, you still don’t want them to get hurt, because obviously the police are trying to protect the players and stuff, I get it, but you still don’t want people to get hurt.

“And I think it just kind of personally just took my mind away from golf a little bit and worried about something else.”

Kim went on to lose on the first playoff hole to Scheffler.