Scheffler contends in PGA following police arrest drama


World No.1 Scottie Scheffler is escorted by police after being handcuffed near Valhalla Golf Club.
World No.1 Scottie Scheffler is escorted by police after being handcuffed near Valhalla Golf Club.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was still in contention to win the US PGA Championship, shooting a round of 66 just hours after being arrested and charged by Louisville police.

The world No.1 was arrested on Friday morning on his way to the course, with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was taken to jail for not following police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation.

Louisville Metro Police Department said Scheffler was booked on four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer after his vehicle dragged an officer to the ground and injured him.

A dismayed Scheffler at a news conference after his second round. (AP PHOTO)

Scheffler was also booked on charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

In a span of four hours, Scheffler was arrested wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt, dressed in an orange jail shirt for his mug shot, returned to Valhalla Golf Club in golf clothes and made his 10:08 am second-round tee time.

After putting out a statement that the incident was a “big misunderstanding”, Scheffler, who later said he been shocked and confused by the arrest, then went on to shoot his five-under par round amid cheers and support from the galleries.

“It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding. I can’t get into what transpired, outside of my heart goes out to the family,” Scheffler said post-round, offering his sympathy to the family of a tournament vendor John Mills, the pedestrian who had died in the accident.

Fan wearing Scheffler shirt
A fam wearing a T-shirt she bought in the Valhalla parking lot in support of Scheffler. (AP PHOTO)

“I can’t imagine what they’re going through this morning.”

Police said the pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing the road in a lane that was dedicated to tournament traffic. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 5:09am.

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington witnessed the incident and said Scheffler, who was to start the second round at 8:48am, drove past a police officer a little after 6am in his SUV with 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 said.

The officer, identified in the arrest report as Detective Gillis, was dragged “to the ground” and suffered “pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist” after the car “accelerated forward,” according to Louisville police.

Scheffler was booked at 7:28am — about two-and-a-half hours before his updated tee time after the second round was delayed because of the fatality.

The officer was dressed in a high visibility reflective jacket when he stopped Scheffler’s car to give instructions, the arrest sheet said. Detective Gillis was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

Darlington 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.”

Scheffler said later, “I was pretty rattled to say the least. The officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great. We had a nice chat in the car, that kind of helped calm me down.

“I was never angry. I was shaking for like an hour, I would say in shock and in fear. Coming out here and trying to play today was definitely a challenge, but I did my best to control my mind, control my breathing.

“When I was sitting in like the holding cell or whatever, there was a TV there and I could see myself on ESPN.

“The officers downstairs, they were discussing how long it was going to take me to get released.”

With AP and PA