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Scott Van Pelt calls protesters ‘idiots’ after Travelers Championship

The occupation of the 18th hole by climate protesters during the final round of the Travelers Championship on Sunday was an uncomfortable moment for one of sports media’s most prominent figures.

In the evening edition of “Sports Center,” ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt offered a blunt assessment of the intense delays at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, before Scottie Scheffler won his sixth PGA Tour victory of the season.

“This hole has seen some incredible moments and drama over the years,” Van Pelt said, “and now we have this chaos. Protesters are running onto the green. The cops are coming. … These idiots are on the green and now they need to be cleaned up.”

Scott Van Pelt wasn’t too happy about the protest on the 18th hole at the Travelers Championship. Getty Images
Climate activists have weighed in on the fierce battle between Scottie Schaeffler and Tom Kim. Getty Images

The normally affable Van Pelt didn’t seem too keen on the tournament turmoil that ended Scheffler and Tom Kim’s race to the final green by one stroke.

The protesters were seen carrying cylindrical containers from which smoking material was coming before they were arrested by authorities.

The mix-up prompted a massive backlash from golf enthusiasts, including Barstool’s Dave Portnoy, who nervously watched his bet on Scheffler.

After the demonstration, Kim was tied with Scheffler at 22 under par, but the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer won the tournament in a playoff.

“When something like that happens, it’s a little bit unsettling because you don’t really know what’s going on,” Scheffler said of the on-course incident. “It can be a stressful situation and you don’t want the tournament to end with something weird happening because of something like that.”

“Tom and I tried to keep each other calm so we could play our best on the 18th hole.”

The final round of the Travelers Championship on June 23, 2024. AP
Scottie Scheffler (right) looks on as protesters gather. AP

Scheffler had a memorable finish at the U.S. Open, finishing tied for 41st.

Bryson DeChambeau won his third major of the year at six under par, while Rory McIlroy came in close at five under par.

McIlroy’s decision not to speak to the media last Sunday drew the ire of Van Pelt.

“He’ll be remembered both for how he got away with it this Sunday and the fact that he walked away without saying anything about it,” Van Pelt said.

With the British Open just about a month away, not to mention this weekend’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, security is likely to be on high alert as the season continues.