Charles Howell III, More Sony Open Golfers Discuss Hawaii Missile Alert Scare

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2018

HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 11:  Charles Howell III of the United States reacts to his shot from the seventh tee during round one of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 11, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Golfers in Honolulu for the 2018 Sony Open reflected on the scare they received Saturday morning when an emergency alert was pushed to phones throughout the state saying there was a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii."

The alert, which was ultimately ruled a false alarm by the Hawaii Emergency Agency, urged people to "seek immediate shelter."

"All the alarms went off at the same time," Charles Howell III told the Associated Press' Doug Ferguson. "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."

According to Hawaii Gov. David Ige, the alert was the product of human error.

"It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button," Ige told CNN.

"I turned on the TV and didn't see anything," Justin Thomas said, per Ferguson. "I looked online and thought, 'It can't be real.' I put on some music, opening the sliding door and figured there was nothing I can do about a missile. But right when it happened, everything flashes. It's the first time I guess you can say my life flashed before my eyes. It was a little dicey."

All told, 38 minutes elapsed between the initial alert and the follow-up stating there was no imminent threat.

"I went out to the balcony expecting to see a missile flying toward Waikiki," Scotland's Russell Knox said. "You never really think that's going to happen. But my heart rate went up a little bit."

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