Climate protesters disrupt play at 18th hole of PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship

Protesters ran onto the 18th green in the final round of the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, Sunday, leaving a powdery substance on the putting surface and delaying play for several minutes.

Video from broadcaster CBS showed several of the six demonstrators wearing shirts reading: “No golf on a dead planet.”

Extinction Rebellion, a climate activist group, said it was behind the incident.

Police quickly removed the protesters, allowing the final group, including leaders Tom Kim and Scottie Scheffler to finish the hole in a tie and move to a playoff.

The pair teed off on the 18th again and Scheffler went on to win.

He said he and Kim helped to steady each other as the police worked quickly.

“You don’t really know what is going on, you don’t really understand the situation,” Scheffler said in a post-match interview with CBS Sports. “There’s people running around everywhere and you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”

He credited the police with doing a great job to handcuff and remove the protesters.

The protesters were accused of one count each of criminal mischief in the first degree, criminal trespass in the first degree and breach of Peace, according to a news release from the Cromwell Police Department.

They each were released on a bond of $5,000 and are due in court July 1.

Kim told reporters it was like a dream but the moment temporarily took his mind off the importance of making his putt because he was worried about people getting hurt.

In a social media video, officers can be seen wrestling three protesters on the ground. Another protester is tackled by an officer and drops a bag they were holding. Fans can be heard booing and yelling obscenities at the protesters.

Sina Sadri, the 19-year-old fan who recorded the video, said he had looked away and when he returned his eyes to the green area there was a guy in the bunker.

“I instinctively took out my phone and started recording – and the mayhem unfolded,” he told CNN.

He described the demonstrators as using devices that left behind powder, not paint. There was a firework-like smell in the air, he said.

At the players’ news conference, Scheffler said the initial chaos with people running around was a little rattling.

“You don’t know if they’re peaceful, you don’t know what they’re doing, you have no idea what’s going on, so it can be a bit stressful,” he told reporters.

A PGA Tour senior spokesperson told CNN the protesters were “immediately arrested.”

“The powder on the green was removed, resulting in no damage to the 18th green,” Joel Schuchmann said. “Our thanks to the Cromwell Police Department for their quick and decisive action.”

CNN has reached out to law enforcement for more information.

In a statement released shortly after the incident, Extinction Rebellion said it was trying to draw attention to climate change.

“With this action, Extinction Rebellion is NOT protesting any individual or organization. Rather, the protest highlights the worldwide danger of climate breakdown,” the group said in its statement.

“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,” the group added.

Extinction Rebellion has a reputation for attention-grabbing tactics. Its activists have made international headlines for past protests including dumping green dye into Venice’s Grand Canal, gluing themselves to a Picasso painting, smashing bank windows and spraying fake blood over buildings to call attention to climate issues.

“At this point, the sole option remaining is to engage in unconventional forms of protest that bring attention to the severity of the climate emergency,” the group said in its release.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Sharif Paget contributed to this report.

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