British Open organizers expected protests, and on Friday morning they arrived. Protesters wearing “Just Stop Oil” shirts ran onto the course, scattering confetti on the 17th hole. But the security forces quickly put a stop to the demonstration… with a little help from player Billy Horschel.
Horschel would go on to tie the holeshot and end the day with a 75, leaving him six over and likely missing the cut.
Demonstration debris was quickly cleared by a field crew equipped with leaf blowers:
R&A CEO Martin Slumbers noted before the tournament started that there had been credible threats over protests from Just Stop Oil, a group seeking to force the UK government to end reliance on fossil fuels. The band have made appearances at other UK sporting events such as Wimbledon.
“Most people in this room don’t know the Open was targeted last year,” Slumbers said during his Wednesday press conference. “A journalist who is in this room…very kindly and responsibly informed us that one of the most experienced players in the field was going to be targeted by an environmental activist. That’s all I really want to say.”