How the PGA Tour stars reacted to the Hawaii ballistic missile alert

The Scoop

In this week's Dialled In, Alex Perry explores how those playing at the Sony Open dealt with receiving an alert saying the island was under threat

How would you react if a message popped up on your phone that read: “Ballistic missile threat inbound. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”?

In my head I would play it cool, calmly guiding my family to safety before taking a central role in rebuilding the world. (Well, South Yorkshire.)

In reality I’d be a complete mess, curled up in the foetal position weeping as my 1-year-old tugs on my hair singing “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”

Receiving that message was a reality for Hawaii’s 1.5 million residents, as well as countless tourists and, of course, some of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars.

The likes of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who were in Honolulu for the Sony Open, had this pop up on their phones on Saturday morning:

“I thought if we had a car maybe drive as far away from town as possible,” Spieth said. “We were inside away from the windows trying to gather information.”

Justin Thomas, meanwhile, said: “I was like, ‘There’s nothing I can do. If it’s my time, it’s my time’.” The world No. 4 then laughed it off on Twitter:

Charles Howell III was equally laid back: “Part of you thinks what are you going to do?” he told Golfworld. “Part of you thinks grab a MaiTai, go to the beach and grab a front-row seat.”

He added: “At breakfast you could hear the collective [buzz] of phones. I froze. We didn’t know what to do.”

Tony Finau, meanwhile, said “the rollercoaster of emotions was pretty crazy”.

Maybe it wasn’t quite as good as Emiliano Grillo who summed up his feelings with an emoji once the false alarm was raised…

Not many others were happy either…

While the panic for many on the Pacific islands lasted 38 minutes from the original alert to the follow up confirming it was a mistake, the PGA Tour claim they received the information much sooner.

The statement read: “In less than four minutes from the initial call from tour staff in Hawaii, we were able to verify that the alert was a mistake and communicate that information to tour leadership and players and staff in Hawaii. Although the incident was understandably upsetting to all involved, we have confirmed there were no injuries to our staff or players, or any further issues of concern.”

Still. Four minutes that would have felt like days.

All I can think about is how lucky we all are that the situation calmed down before a certain Mr Trump found out…

Escape to the (winter) sun

I’m actually writing this on a plane while sitting at an angle I had no idea I could get into. The ping of the seatbelt light turning off had barely reached the ‘g’ when the gentleman in front of me reclined his seat so aggressively that my kneecaps almost hit my chin. Why are there reclining seats in economy class on planes? Whose idea was this? I hate this person more than anyone on the planet.

Anyway I’m sure by the time you read this I will be in a much better as I am on my way to Abu Dhabi with a couple of others from the NCG team, where we’ve got some really cool plans. (I realise that by saying they’re cool makes them distinctly uncool. What even is cool these days?)

Of course, the “really cool plans” rely heavily on the golfers agreeing to actually do what we want them to…

Who would live in a house like this?

Feels like just yesterday I was writing about Rory McIlroy’s childhood home going up for sale, now the four-time major champion’s Florida home is on the market – and it’s all yours for just $12.9 million.

The best bit, though, is McIlroy’s weird Homes Under the Hammer-style video where he’s just walking around the property staring aimlessly into the middle distance.

Lovely stuff. We do, of course, all wish McIlroy the best after he revealed a heart scare following a virus.

Perez finds out wife is pregnant

I am sure we all saw the famous Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky gender announcement last year, but, Pat Perez’s wife went a little further.

Imagine finding out that news in your dessert…

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