Australia's Matthew Griffin plays a tee shot during a practice round ahead of the British Open in July.
Australia's Matthew Griffin plays a tee shot during a practice round ahead of the British Open in July. Dave Thompson

Aussie golfer forced off course by missile launch

AUSTRALIAN golfer Matt Griffin was one of a number of players forced to abandon play in Japan following a missile launch by North Korea.

Griffin was one-under going into day two of the ANA event in Sapporo when the news broke.

"Well this is a first. We currently have a suspension of play in Sapporo Japan due to North Korea launching ballistic missiles," he tweeted.

As the news reached Australia, Griffin spoke to SEN.

"We woke this morning to an alert text message that said North Korea had launched a ballistic missile and then there was one a few minutes later that said that it's landed in the Pacific Ocean, so that was a fair relief," he said.

"They've suspended play at the course for a while and we'll just wait and see what they decide to do.

"Fortunately it flew well over the top, I've got no idea myself (what a ballistic missile sounds like). I'm sure it was a fair way up if it's going as far as it's got to go, it's got to go a fair way into the atmosphere, so fortunately it's not too close to us at this stage.

"Over the last few months I guess tensions just gradually increased and you keep thinking or you hope that nothing will ever happen because it's so stupid if it does and you would think that North Korea would be obliterated if it does.

"But the more these things happen, the more these things happen, the more tensions grow and you've got Donald Trump over the other side so if something does start up then we're in the worst place. There is definitely a bit more talk and a bit more tension that something may happen."

North Korea fired the unidentified missile eastwards over Japan, Seoul and Tokyo said.

The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country over its banned missile and nuclear programs.

That was in response to its sixth nuclear test - by far its largest yet - earlier this month, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on to a missile.

According to local reports, Japan warned its residents to take shelter and wait for further instruction.