HONOLULU — Charles Howell III was eating breakfast in his hotel when the restaurant at the Kahala started buzzing.
Everyone had their phones. Everyone received the same push alert shortly after 8 a.m.
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
“All the alarms went off at the same time,” Howell said. “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.”
The push alert turned out to be a mistake.
The scare lasted only about 10 minutes, a little longer depending on the source of information.
Some players at least knew about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, whose tweet that it was a false alarm made the rounds quickly. But it was long enough to create an unsettling start to the third round of the Sony Open from the brief uncertainty and panic across the island.
John Peterson was playing in the final group Saturday, three shots out of the lead. He is traveling with his wife, her parents and their 3-month-old son.
“Under mattresses in the bathtub with my wife, baby and in-laws. Please lord let this bomb threat not be real,” Peterson tweeted.
Tournament director Ray Stosik wasn’t concerned because alerts typically are accompanied by sirens. Even so, he took the alert seriously by telling volunteer chairs and tournament staff to stay put or seek cover
— The Associated Press