Golf No 1 Scheffler fires 66 after arrest on 'chaotic' day at PGA

golf18 May 2024 04:20| © AFP
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Scottie Scheffler © Getty Images

Golf world No 1 Scottie Scheffler was handcuffed and arrested on Friday after allegedly dragging a police officer with his car while trying to avoid traffic controls outside the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

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In one of the strangest scenes ever at a major tournament, Scheffler was taken into custody by police, booked with a mugshot taken in an orange jumpsuit, released, returned to the course in time for his second round, then recovered well enough to fire a five-under par 66 and share third early in the second round.

"I still feel like my head is spinning a little bit but I was fortunate to be able to make it back out and play some golf," Scheffler said. "I've kept myself in the tournament now with a pretty chaotic day."

Scheffler, 27, was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and released.

"My situation will get handled," Scheffler said. "I can't comment on any of the specifics, but it was just a huge misunderstanding that will get resolved I think fairly quickly."

Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police after he drove onto curbing trying to get around a prior accident at the Valhalla entrance, one that resulted in the fatality of a pedestrian named as John Mills.

"My sympathies go out to the family of Mr. Mills," Scheffler said. "I can't imagine what they're going through."

A police report on the incident obtained by ESPN said arresting officer Bryan Gillis says Scheffler disobeyed orders to stop his car and accelerated, dragging the officer to the ground.

Gillis was hospitalized with pain, bruising and swelling in his left wrist and knee. An arraignment is set for Tuesday.

"I never intended to disregard any of the instructions," Scheffler said in a statement before his round.

Scheffler, who won his second Masters title last month, arrived at Valhalla just under an hour before his start time in the second round, which began after an 80-minute delay due to the accident.

"We were devastated to learn that a worker with one of our vendors was tragically struck and killed by a shuttle bus," the PGA of America said in a statement. "This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship."

The PGA of America later identified Mills and said of Scheffler, "We're fully cooperating as local authorities review what took place."


Scheffler was driven from jail, by the owner of Valhalla Golf Club according to ESPN, to the clubhouse, where he ate breakfast before a practice range visit.

"I was pretty rattled to say the least," Scheffler said. "I was shaking. 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.

"It probably took a few holes to feel normal."

Fans cheered as Scheffler walked onto the course and gave him a huge ovation just before his first shot landed in the right rough on his way to an opening birdie.

"Fans were tremendous today," Scheffler said.

Scheffler's mugshot was posted by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections after he was booked. Some fans had it on T-shirts at the course.

"You felt like it was sort of a prank or something when you see a mugshot of Scottie," said tournament leader Xander Schauffele. "He's a solid guy and there was no malintent by him to anyone. So hopefully he goes out unscathed. Scottie's a good dude."

Scheffler has won four of his past five starts, capturing Bay Hill and the Players in March, losing in a playoff at the Houston Open, then winning the Masters and Heritage last month.

American Mark Hubbard, on 133 with Scheffler, was amazed at his performance.

"I saw as everybody did the mug shot and the police report," Hubbard said. "Unbelievable that he gets arrested and then goes out and shoots 66."

Scheffler was the feel-good story of the week, seeking a third major title a week after becoming a father. His wife, Meredith, gave birth to son Bennett nine days ago.