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

Kip Henley
Kip Henley with Austin Cook. Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

From Kip Henley, caddie for Austin Cook, who finished T18 at the Sony Open:

I didn’t have to be to the course until later that afternoon, so I slept in. I woke up to that emergency shrill thingy on my phone. When I first read that warning I was so confused. Was it a joke, or something? And then my brain kicked in and I thought, “Oh crap! Tensions have been bad with North Korea lately. This is the real thing!”

I was staying in an Airbnb way up the side of the mountain with a big, beautiful view of downtown Honolulu. I immediately Face-Timed my wife and walked out onto the lanai to watch the missiles fly in and hit the city. I figured that I was probably going to die anyway, and I might as well watch the incredible scene go down. It was weird. I wasn’t panicking or anything. I was like, “Oh well. This is probably the end.”

I actually said a prayer. I stood there talking to my wife for a couple minutes and started thinking, “I wonder why there isn’t any Army or Navy jets flying around trying to shoot it down.”

When I didn’t see anything like that, I started thinking maybe it was a hoax. A few minutes later, the next emergency text came through that said some idiot had dropped his lunch on the wrong button or something.

The chat on the range that afternoon was amazing. I heard Billy Hurley (a Navy veteran), who was staying downtown, actually ran to his car in his hotel parking garage, got in, picked up a caddie he saw as he was pulling out, and started driving to the other side of the mountain away from the fallout. I was 200 yards from the other side of the mountain and wasn’t smart enough to do that.

Probably half the people on the range that afternoon said they knew it couldn’t be real and most just went back to sleep. The other half, like me, thought our tickets might get punched that day.

Caddying ain’t easy baby!

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