LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Top golfers at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii were among those caught up in the panic on Saturday (Jan 13) after the mistaken transmission of an alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile.
World number four and 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas was among several players at the event in Honolulu who took to Twitter following the false alarm.
"To all that just received the warning along with me this morning... apparently it was a 'mistake' ?? hell of a mistake!!," Thomas wrote. "Haha glad to know we'll all be safe."
Journeyman player John Peterson, who is tied for second at the tournament, wrote on Twitter that he had taken evasive action following the warning.
"Under mattresses in the bathtub with my wife, baby and in laws," Peterson wrote. "Please lord let this bomb threat not be real."
In a separate tweet after confirmation that the alert was sent in error, Peterson wrote: "Man. How do you press the wrong button like that. COME ON MAN."
Irish professional Seamus Power was similarly perplexed. "Not your normal emergency warning. Really hope it's just a drill," Power wrote.https://twitter.com/JohnPetersonFW/status/952245991012409344 https://twitter.com/JohnPetersonFW/status/952252263887552513
Argentina's Emiliano Grillo was also spooked.
"Just woke up here in Hawaii to this lovely text. Somebody can verify this?" he wrote.
J.J. Spaun, meanwhile, said he had taken cover in a hotel basement.
"In a basement under hotel. Barely any service. Can you send confirmed message over radio or tv," he said.
Honolulu-born LPGA star Michelle Wie was startled by the warning.
"UM WHAT?!? This can't be real. Stay safe everyone in Hawaii," she wrote.
American professional Talor Gooch posted a screenshot of the warning, which was issued on the Emergency Alert System and flashed up on cell phones and televisions across the island state.
"Welp this was quite a 'mistake' made by someone," Gooch wrote. "Birdies didn't seem too important for a few minutes. Let's make sure this one doesn't happen again POTUS."
POTUS is an abbreviation for President of the United States, emphasising the plea from Gooch to US President Donald Trump amid tense US-North Korean relations.
The emergency alert had read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency later corrected the warning, confirming there is "NO missile threat to Hawaii."