Urgent missile warning sent PGA tournament into panic


Ah, the PGA Tour in Hawaii.

There are few better ways to start the season in earnest by playing golf in paradise.

While the rest of the country is either shoveling or just freezing, golfers on the PGA Tour are enjoying a second straight week of golf in Hawaii, where sunburn — and not frostbite — is about the only thing to worry about.

But that wasn’t the case Saturday in Honolulu, as word of a potential national crisis briefly shook the entire island. Tens of thousands were awakened by an ominous text message that warned of an imminent ballistic missile threat.

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Fortunately, the message was sent by mistake.

According to Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki, this was a case of someone pressing the wrong button and not “THE button.”

A spokesperson for Gov. David Ige told the Associated Press that the confusion was due to human error.

Thousands of people, like PGA golfer Charles Howell III, were in shock.

“All the alarms went off at the same time,” Howell said. “It got everyone’s attention. I didn’t know what to do. We all stared at each other. It kind of shows you the world we live in now. Your whole life can change in a second.”

Even once the mistake was uncovered, chaos ruled the next few hours.

Tom Hoge was obviously not too worried, however, as he shot a blistering 64 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead at the Sony Open.

Let’s just say that school pride helped Hoge prove that ignorance is bliss.

“I was watching the TCU basketball game at the time, so I was a little frustrated with that,” he said, as Oklahoma beat his Horned Frogs 102-97. “The missile was kind of off my radar on that one. I don’t even know what you do for a missile. So I wasn’t really freaking out or anything. Some other people were around us. If it’s going to be your last day, it’s going to be your last day, right?

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“To be here in Hawaii and see the beach and everything, I guess it would be a good spot to go.”

See how relaxed Hawaii can make you feel?

But truth be told, most people had a reaction more in line with U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth.

“It was pretty scary at the hotel when they came over the loud speaker and said, ‘Everyone take shelter, this isn’t a drill,'” Spieth said.

Assuming no other chaos ensues Sunday, Hoge will begin the final round with a one-shot lead over both Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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