Scottie Scheffler tees off at PGA Championship hours after being arrested outside Valhalla Golf Club

AP
3 Min Read
World No.1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has teed off in his second round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla despite having been charged by police.
World No.1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has teed off in his second round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla despite having been charged by police. Credit: The Nightly

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was arrested on his way to the PGA Championship, with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was taken to jail for not following police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation.

But the world’s No.1 golfer still teed off in his second round at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday despite facing charges, including a second-degree assault of a police officer. He scored a birdie on the first hole, with commentators describing the events that had unfolded as “surreal”.

In a span of three hours, Scheffler was arrested wearing gym shorts and a tee shirt, dressed in an orange jail shirt for his mugshot, and returned to Valhalla in golf clothes 56 minutes before he was to tee off in the second round.

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Scottie Scheffler's mugshot.
Scottie Scheffler's mugshot. Credit: Louisville Metropolitan Departme/supplied

Police said the world’s No.1 golfer was booked for second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Scheffler himself later put out a statement, insisting the episode had been a “misunderstanding” before he teed off in his second round.

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” the statement said.

“It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.

“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions. I’m hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today. Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man who passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything in perspective.”

The sight of Scheffler warming up to play his second round at the course felt extraordinary after the drama that had preceded his arrival.

Police said a pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing the road in a lane that was dedicated to tournament traffic and was pronounced dead at the scene about 5:09 a.m. The PGA of America identified the man as an employee of one of its vendors.

“This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship. We extend our sincere condolences to their family and loved ones,” the PGA said in a statement.

Amid backed-up traffic, ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington said Scheffler, who was due to start the second round at 8:48 a.m., drove past a police officer a little after 6am in his SUV, which had markings on the door indicating it was a PGA Championship vehicle.

The officer screamed at him to stop and then grabbed onto the car until Scheffler stopped about 10 yards later.

Darlington watched it unfold. He said police pulled Scheffler out of the car, pushed him up against the car and immediately placed him in handcuffs.

“Scheffler was then walked over to the police car, placed in the back, in handcuffs, very stunned about what was happening, looked toward me as he was in those handcuffs and said, ‘Please help me,’” Darlington said.

“He very clearly did not know what was happening in the situation. It moved very quickly, very rapidly, very aggressively.”

The PGA Championship posted a notice that play would be delayed because of the accident. The second round was to start 80 minutes later than scheduled tee times.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 17: Scottie Scheffler of the United States and caddie, Ted Scott, looks on from the tenth tee during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 17, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Scottie Scheffler and caddie, Ted Scott, look on from the tenth tee during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship. Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Scheffler was released by police and returned to the course at 9:12 a.m. He made his way to the practice area around 9:30 a.m. and was welcomed by fans — one shouted, “Free Scottie!”

Scheffler is coming off four victories in his past five tournaments, including his second Masters title.

He has been home in Dallas for the past three weeks, awaiting the birth of his first child, a son born May 8.

Scheffler opened the tournament on Thursday with a four-under 67 and was five shots off the lead in his quest to become only the fifth player since 1960 to win the first two majors of the year.

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