GOLF

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler arrested, released before PGA Championship

May 17, 2024, 6:35 AM | Updated: 7:58 am

Golfer Scottie Scheffler committed to the WM Phoenix Open for 2024...

Scottie Scheffler, of the United States, right, poses with the trophy as Tiger Woods smiles in the background, after winning the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club in New Providence, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Masters champion Scottie Scheffler is back at the PGA Championship course hours after a traffic arrest early Friday morning on his way to the event.

He was arrested with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was led to a police car. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported he failed to follow police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation.

ESPN reports that Scheffler is being charged by the Louisville Police Department with second-degree assault of a police officer — a felony — along with misdemeanors of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic. The police report, according to The Associated Press, said an officer was hospitalized after being dragged by the golfer’s car.

 

Scheffler released a statement about the altercation before he teed off.

Traffic was backed up for about a mile in both directions on the only road that leads to Valhalla Golf Club, with dozens of police vehicles flashing red-and-blue lights near the entrance.

Police said a pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing the road in a lane that was dedicated to tournament traffic.

ESPN said Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world who was to start the second round at 8:48 a.m., drove past a police officer 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. The same officer then pulled Scheffler out of the car.

At one point, an officer attached himself to the side of Scheffler’s car. Scheffler stopped his car as he turned into the entrance of Valhalla Golf Club.

After about 20 to 30 seconds, Scheffler rolled down his window to talk to the officer. The officer grabbed Scheffler’s arm to pull him out of the vehicle, according to Darlington. The officer reached inside the vehicle to open the door, and once Scheffler was pulled out, he was pushed against the car and placed in handcuffs.

Darlington was standing at the entrance when Scheffler was detained. Darlington said Scheffler turned to him and asked, “Can you help?”

According to Darlington, an officer instructed him to back away.

“You need to get out of the way,” the officer told Darlington. “Right now, he’s going to jail, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Scheffler was booked at 7:28 a.m. — about 2 1/2 hours before he was scheduled to start his second round.

Louisville Metro police spokesman Dwight Mitchell did not immediately return a call seeking comment and information. ESPN reported Scheffler had been released.

Jeff Darlington of ESPN watched this 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.”

Pedestrian death leads up to Scottie Scheffler arrest at PGA Championship

Mitchell told Louisville radio station WHAS that the pedestrian involved in the other incident that backed up traffic was crossing Shelbyville Road at about 5 a.m. and the bus didn’t see him. Mitchell said the man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The PGA Championship posted a notice that play would be delayed because of the accident. The second round was to start 1 hour, 20 minutes later than scheduled tee times, meaning Scheffler was not due to start until a little after 10 a.m.

Rain began pounding Valhalla a short time later, and with recent rain earlier in the week that twice shut down the course, play was likely to be halted even longer.

With cars backed up in the morning darkness, other PGA-marked vehicles tried to move slowly toward the entrance. Traffic finally began to move gradually a little before 7 a.m.

It was a surreal start to what already has been a wild week of weather — the Masters champion and top-ranked player in the world, dressed in workout clothes with his hands in cuffs behind his back amid flashing flights.

Darlington said police were not sure who Scheffler was. He said an officer asked him to leave and when he identified himself being with the media, he was told, “There’s nothing you can do. He’s going to jail.”

Darlington said another police officer later approached with a notepad and asked if he knew the name of the person they put in handcuffs.

Scheffler is coming off four victories in his last five tournaments, including his second Masters title. He was home in Dallas the last three weeks waiting on the birth of his first child, a son who was born May 8.

Scheffler opened with a 4-under 67 and was five shots out of the lead as he tries to become only the fifth player since 1960 to win the first two majors of the year.

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