False ballistic missile alarm in Hawaii stuns PGA Tour golfers before Sony Open third round
Golf Culture

False ballistic missile alarm in Hawaii stuns PGA Tour golfers before Sony Open third round

PGA Tour pros were among those who got a frightening message on their mobile phones on Saturday morning, when the state of Hawaii's ballistic missile alert system accidentally sent a notice to anyone on the Hawaiian islands that a ICBM was heading toward the 50th state.

At approximately 1:07 p.m. Eastern or 8:07 a.m. Hawaii time, an emergency message was broadcast to mobile phones, which read, "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

The message sent thousands into panic, with a rapid response on social media asking the U.S. Pacific Command for details and more information.

At 1:20 p.m. the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, which handles sending the warnings and alarms, cleared that there was an error, tweeting, “NO missile threat to Hawaii."

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Brian Schatz quickly tweeted about the false alarm.

There has yet to be an explanation for the false alarm and the resulting communication and public scare. However, a variety of elected Hawaiian officials are demanding answers, accountability and transparency. Early reports indicate a malfunction during a system test.

The ballistic missile system was recently revived in response to claims from North Korea that its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) could reach Hawaii.

The PGA Tour is in Hawaii for the second week in a row, playing the Sony Open in Hawaii, the season's first full-field event, in Honolulu. Once the true nature of the alarm was identified, the PGA Tour quickly alerted players and caddies that the Saturday third-round slate wound go on as scheduled.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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