A PGA Championship Favorite, Scottie Scheffler, Is Arrested Before Second Round of Major Tournament

The world’s no. 1 ranked player faces a felony charge for assaulting a police officer.

AP/Sue Ogrocki
Scottie Scheffler warms up before the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, May 17, 2024, at Louisville. AP/Sue Ogrocki

Scottie Scheffler thought missing his newborn son would be his biggest mental hurdle while playing in the PGA Championship this weekend. Now, he must overcome being arrested and booked into a Louisville, Kentucky, jail Friday morning and charged with assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Scheffler, the no. 1-ranked player in the world and a favorite to win the year’s second major championship, was arrested shortly before 7:30 a.m. and charged with second-degree assault on a police officer, which is a felony, as well as criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic.

The incident took place near the entrance of Valhalla Golf Club, where police backed up traffic while investigating an accident involving a vendor who was struck and killed by a shuttle bus at about 5 a.m. EDT.

Mr. Scheffler was released from jail in time to make his 10:08 a.m. tee time for the second round of the tournament. Mr. Scheffler performed well considering the arrest. He shot a five-under-par 66 and is nine-under for the tournament. In a statement, he said his arrest is the result of “a big misunderstanding.”

According to various reports, Mr. Scheffler tried to drive around the traffic jam caused by the police investigation. ESPN reported a police officer ordered Mr. Scheffler to stop, and when the golfer didn’t, the police officer attached himself to the vehicle, which traveled another 10 yards. The officer eventually pulled Mr. Scheffler out of the car and placed him in handcuffs. The golfer was booked and took a mug shot while wearing an orange jail shirt.

Mr. Scheffler said in his statement, “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.”

According to the Associated Press, the arrest report indicates the officer, Detective Bryan Gillis, dressed in a hi-visibility yellow reflective rain jacket, was dragged and suffered “pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist” when the car “accelerated forward.” The officer, according to a social media report, was transported to the hospital for further treatment by emergency medical personnel. “Detective Gillis’ uniform pants, valued at approximately $80 were damaged beyond repair.”

Mr. Scheffler arrived at Valhalla earlier in the week basking in the aftermath of the birth of his son Bennett but determined to focus on winning this year’s second major after capturing his second Masters title in April. He has won four of his last five PGA Tour starts but had not played in three weeks while awaiting the birth of his first child. He shot a four-under-par 67 in Thursday’s opening round, leaving him tied for 12th.

Mr. Scheffler’s attorney, Steven Romines, told ESPN his client was unaware of the accident when he tried to enter the golf club for an early workout before his round. “They are allowed to go through, that’s why they have the credential and the wave-through,” Mr. Romines said. “He was unaware there had been a wreck, and he proceeded like they’d been instructed to. He did exactly as he was instructed to enter the premises.”

Mr. Romines said Mr. Scheffler plans to cooperate with police “and deal with it as it progresses.”

Mr. Scheffler expressed his condolences to the family of the vendor killed in the accident. “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,” the statement read. “It truly puts everything into perspective.”

The PGA of America also issued a statement acknowledging the tragic accident. “This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship,” the statement read in part. “We extend our sincere condolences to their family and loved ones.”

Round Two starting times were delayed by an hour and 20 minutes due to the accident.

The New York Sun

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