Caddies recall false alarm ‘missile alert’ during 2018 Sony Open
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally published in January 2019.
Life on the PGA Tour is pretty sweet.
Those who make their living on the Tour – as players and caddies – are chasing the sun most weeks, traveling from one vacation destination after another, after another.
And that isn’t to say life on the Tour is a vacation. It’s not. Their offices are usually just a lot cooler than yours.
But on Saturday, January 13, 2018, life on the PGA Tour was briefly harrowing for those who were in Honolulu – paradise – for the Sony Open in Hawaii.
That’s when anyone who had a smartphone – and who doesn’t these days – received a terrifying alert that read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
The push alert was issued shortly after 8 a.m., so not many were at Waialae Country Club for the third round just yet.
Within 10 minutes, it was known the alarm was nothing more than a big mistake. But that timeframe depended on how connected you were. For many on the island, it was between 30-60 minutes after the message before they knew for sure that it was a false alarm.
Regardless of the timeframe, every second had to feel like an eternity under the circumstances.
Check out this video of a man enjoying a casual round of golf that morning… before he received the alert:
— Alohi Gardner (@GardnerAlohi) January 13, 2018
With the anniversary of that week here, we asked 10 caddies to give us their firsthand account of what those uncertain moments were like.
Scroll through to read their stories…