Eco-protesters faced their match today when they tried to disrupt the Open 2023 – only to face top golf stars.
Seven-time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel was seen challenging a staff member at the Royal Liverpool Gold Club in Hoylake, Cheshire.
A trio of eco-zealots tried to ruin play on the 17th green with smoke and orange powder paint.
But their rampage was halted by Horschel and his teammates Corey Connors and Alex Noren.
After stopping one of the protesters in his tracks, Horschel led them to safety.
Just Stop Oil interrupted proceedings with an orange flare during play at The Open Championship on Friday afternoon.
The American golfer was met with applause and tears from fans for his decisive response to the detractors.
Cheshire Police officers were seen escorting several white-shirted workers from the Gold Course later in the afternoon.
Just Stop Oil activists have already staged protests at the World Snooker Championships, Wimbledon and this summer’s Ashes, with England cricket star Jonny Bairstow even forcing a man off the field himself at Lord’s.
And now protesters have struck again at The Open, which kicked off at Royal Liverpool 24 hours ago on Thursday.
Members of the group entered the course to release an orange flare to Whaley during the 17th hole, before security quickly intervened to stop them.
After the workers were detained by police, event organizers quickly gathered with leaf blowers to clean up the mess that had been made on the course.
Security personnel at the event quickly confronted environmental activists in front of the crowd
Organizers solved the problem by taking leaf blowers to the course and removing the dust
Police were pictured on the site dealing with protesters after they managed to disrupt the game
Organizers at Hoylake were expecting environmental groups to make a statement
Following the impact of the Just Stop Oil protest on the 17th green at Royal Liverpool. Security and police detained 3 people (one male, 2 females). pic.twitter.com/naJIF6KLJr
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) July 21, 2023
The footage showed PGA Tour star, Billy Horschel, intervening in the protest and helping to detain the activists before play could continue.
Horschel was greeted by cheers from the crowd, although the players had previously been told not to get involved if Just Stop Oil was performing that day.
US Masters champion Jon Rahm issued a stern warning to Just Stop Oil protesters ahead of the championship earlier this week.
With organizers at Hoylake warning of potential disruption, and even urging players not to involve themselves, Rahm suggested he himself would be prepared to take similar action to Bairstow in throwing a protester off the course.
‘I have a reputation, so I hope they don’t catch me in a bad hole,’ he said.
‘I know they will make an impact. I’ve seen a few of them intervene at Wimbledon, and apparently it looks like it could be a perfect place. But we have nothing to do with it.
‘You don’t want to disrupt the game, which is what they’re trying to do, so if it happens where I’m at, I’ll definitely try to clear it up as quickly as possible so we can start playing again.’
The crowd took pictures and video of the incident during the 17th hole
Just Stop Oil workers have already launched protests at the World Snooker Championships, Wimbledon and this summer’s Ashes.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers revealed Just Stop Oil tried to target St Andrews last year.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers previously insisted there was no intelligence surrounding a possible protest at The Open, but he was confident of the ‘significant’ security measures that had been put in place.
Slumbers said the event was targeted in St Andrews last year – there were rumors of a possible Just Stop Oil intervention – but nothing public materialized after security was increased at certain locations.
“We had no idea straight away,” Slumbers said of the prospect of protests at Royal Liverpool.
‘Last year there was direct intelligence and most people in this room don’t know that the Open was targeted last year.
‘We had a very credible threat that was communicated to us that some of the players in the field were going to be targeted by environmentalists.
‘We have important security measures in place, we work with law enforcement and we will wait and see what happens.
‘We have advised the players please don’t get involved and I stand by that.
‘Beyond that I think there are security issues I need to maintain my privacy.’
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