As Nick Taylor’s winding 72-foot eagle putt dropped into the cup, bedlam ensued.
Sinking the longest putt of his PGA Tour career on the fourth hole of a nail-biting playoff, the 35-year-old had just ended the 69-year wait for a Canadian golfer to win the Canadian Open in the most astonishing way imaginable.
The celebrations matched the moment on Sunday. As Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country club crowd erupted, their home hero had just enough time to raise his fist in victory before he was wrapped up in a hug by caddie Dave Markle.
Overhead, champagne rained down on the pair, sprayed enthusiastically by fellow pro and compatriot Adam Hadwin. Then, abruptly, it stopped.
A security guard, appearing to mistake Hadwin for an invading member of the gallery, skirted around Taylor to take down the bottle-wielding golfer, driving him to the floor of the 18th green with a linebacker-esque tackle.
Onlookers, including Markle, rushed in to clear up the case of mistaken identity. Hadwin was quickly helped back to his feet, with footage showing him stood arm in arm with the security guard shortly after.
Tournament Director Bryan Crawford told CNN that the security guard did “not immediately recognize” Hadwin and other Canadian players that rushed onto the green to celebrate with Taylor.
“The security officer was doing their job and acting in the moment amidst a flurry of excitement and celebration on the green following one of the most iconic moments in Canadian sport,” Taylor said.
“We are pleased with how both parties quickly rectified the misunderstanding and embraced the moment.”
Hadwin clearly saw the funny side, changing both his profile and cover picture on Twitter to a close-up of the tackle. Another picture posted by Hadwin, captioned “Put in the Louvre!” captured Taylor and Markle turning to look just as the world No. 75 was hauled down.
“Corner of my eye I saw he got a nice tackle there,” Taylor told reporters.
“I hope he’s all right. He was upright when I saw him later, so I hope he doesn’t wake up tomorrow morning with any broken ribs or anything.”
Confirmation of Hadwin’s clean bill of health – and an apology – followed later from his wife Jessica via Twitter.
“I’m thrilled to report that @ahadwingolf is still among the land of the living and in true Canadian form, apologized to the security guard for being tackled,” she said.
As footage of the tackle quickly spread across social media – including a cinematic slow-motion close-up from the Canadian Open’s official account – Hadwin’s counterparts revelled in his misfortune.
The incident added another layer of spectacle to a day that had already overflowed with drama, and one that will live long in the memory for Taylor.
Seeking to end a three-year wait for his third PGA Tour win, the Winnipeg-born golfer was serenaded throughout the week by the Canadian crowds, who broke out into a chorus of the national anthem at one point during his final round.
It soundtracked a brilliant Sunday showing from Taylor, who – having begun his tournament by shooting 3-over par – closed with a six-under round to finish on 17-under. It put him level at the top of the leaderboard with England’s Tommy Fleetwood, in pursuit of a first PGA Tour title.
That sent the pair into the first PGA Tour playoffs of their careers, and after three holes, they still could not be separated. Having both birdied the first replay of the par-five 18th, the duo parred the same hole again before repeating the feat at the par-three ninth hole.
The fourth playoff hole signalled a return to the 18th tee. Though Taylor found the green in two strokes, a superb fairway approach from Fleetwood offered the Englishman birdie chance from 12 feet.
Yet that would be Fleetwood’s last shot of the tournament. A remarkable uphill putt saw Taylor eagle for the win to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954, and the sixth in history, to win his country’s National Open.
Compatriots Mike Weir, Corey Conners and Hadwin, were among those who surged onto the 18th green to congratulate Taylor, whose win secured him $1.62 million in prize money and jumped him 15 places to 44th in the world rankings.
“I heard someone shout out there, “everything,” and I don’t know any other word to use other than that,” Taylor said.
“I think it’s a tournament that we’ve circled on our calendar since probably junior golf. Ever since I’ve been on the PGA Tour this is one that we want to do as well as we can in, and the crowd support was the most unbelievable thing I will probably ever experience in my life.
“To break that curse – if you want to call it – I’m pretty speechless. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for quite some time what happened today.”
And before he had made any comment on his own 18th green moment, Hadwin first sent his congratulations to Taylor.
“Words cannot describe the magnitude of what you just accomplished. So proud of you,” he tweeted.