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PGA Tour golfer Akshay Bhatia reflects on protesters storming green: ‘Scared for my life’

Akshay Bhatia was among the golfers preparing to finish their Travelers Championship final round on Sunday when multiple protesters sprinted onto the 18th green, waving cans of colored gas and disrupting the finishing hole in bizarre fashion. 

Bhatia was spotted standing next to Scottie Scheffler, the eventual winner of the tournament, and Tom Kim, whose birdie after the wild event ended forced a playoff against Scheffler. 

Bhatia caught up with CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis after settling down and knocking down his par putt to end his tournament tied in fifth place. 

“I was scared for my life,” Bhatia, 22, told Balionis when asked about his reaction to the protesters running onto the green while he was up there. “I didn’t really know what was happening. All of a sudden, four or five people come out running on the green. It’s kinda weird, but thankfully cops were there and kept us safe. Just weird stuff.”

Balionis followed up by asking how Bhatia calmed his nerves after authorities placed handcuffs on each of the protesters and walked them out. 

“I mean, I was in shock and my heart rate was high,” he answered. “It got low, and then once that kinda happened, I freaked out. I tried to go where everyone was. So, it was hard to do it. Just weird.”


Golf fans were raining boos on the protesters as others yelled profanities in disapproval while authorities wrangled them up. 

Some of the protesters wore T-shirts with the extinction symbol on the back, which is a circle representing the planet and a stylized hourglass that represents running out of time. 

Akshay Bhatia holds trophy

The T-shirts also read, “No golf on a dead planet,” indicating the protesters were climate change activists. 

Bhatia posted a final-round 69 to finish 18-under for the tournament, but he noted to Balionis that he could’ve been more aggressive in trying to pursue Scheffler and Kim, who were battling for the lead with each other. 

Bhatia put himself in great position to get his third PGA Tour win of his career after going 17-under through his first three rounds of the tournament. But he couldn’t make that final move on Sunday, shooting just 1-under. 

Akshay Bhatia with Travelers Championship protester side by side

After finishing T-16 at a tough Pinehurst No. 2 course in the U.S. Open last week, Bhatia’s game is definitely in the right place heading into the final major of the year next month at The Open Championship, where he and every other golfer certainly hopes no other protests occur. 

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