Caddies recall false alarm ‘missile alert’ during 2018 Sony Open

James Edmondson
Caddie James Edmondson with Ryan Palmer. Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

From James Edmondson, caddie for Ryan Palmer, who finished T58 that week:

I remember the false alarm vividly.

I was sitting on the veranda of my hotel enjoying breakfast with my wife. Towards the end of our meal, everyone’s phone was going off in a sound that reminded me of those Amber-alert sounds.

I jokingly said to my wife, “Let me guess, there’s a bomb on the way.” 

She looks up in horror and says, “How do you know that!?” 

It was my first reaction because of the North Korea threat for the past few years. I immediately jump up from the table and go to the front desk to use their landline. I call 911 and get a busy signal. I then go into fight or flight mentality. I start to remember some underground areas and grab my wife’s hand and head down the escalator to street level. She’s Face-Timing our two daughters back in Texas, while trying to hold back the tears telling them how much we love them. 

As we reach the street level, I take us to the spot I had remembered from all the years of being in Waikiki. Two other couples see us and follow us as I tell them to come as we try to take cover. I knew that the PGA Tour has direct contact with Department of Homeland Security, and called Ryan Palmer to see if he had heard anything. 

We make it underground and there are about four employees and the head of security is in this location. I talk to the building security and ask about the air raid sirens. None were going off after about 10 minutes had passed from the threat text. This is when things didn’t add up. 

I heard from Ryan about 5 minutes later and he said the Tour was informed this was a false alarm. I relayed the message to the employees and two other couples that followed us. My wife and I headed back to the hotel and everyone was standing around the lobby in shock. I saw two girls from Australia and told them the news and they both hugged me while shedding tears. A few other guests asked where we had gone, in case of another possible threat. 

After calming the nerves of the guests, with the early news, everyone tried to get back to normal Saturday activities in Waikiki. It wasn’t until 5-15 minutes that “official word” was finally sent to everyone. This was certainly a morning that I will never forget and thank God it was a hoax.

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