How ESPN’s Jeff Darlington landed at the center of the Scottie Scheffler arrest story

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ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington witnessed the arrest of world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler Friday morning before the second round of the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, plunging the reporter into the middle of one of the strangest stories in sports in recent memory.

Darlington and Scheffler had arrived on the course around the same time in preparation for the tournament. After allegedly attempting to drive around the scene of a fatal accident, Scheffler was arrested and charged with a felony and other charges. He was later released and has since started the tournament.

Darlington not only witnessed the incident, he also tried to intervene. He was only a few feet from Scheffler when the golfer was arrested, and Darlington tried – unsuccessfully – to explain to police that Scheffler was participating in the tournament.

“We didn’t want to be part of this story, we ended up being at least on the outskirts,” ESPN commentator Dave Fleming said on air after the incident.

ESPN told CNN the network is not commenting on this story.

Darlington broke the news of Scheffler’s arrest in a series of posts on X and explained the incident in more detail on ESPN’s SportsCenter less than an hour later. He said the incident happened around 6 a.m. after a “misunderstanding” in which Scheffler attempted to bypass police presence at the scene of an unrelated car crash that occurred outside of the golf club.

“The officer attempted to tie himself to Scheffler’s car, and Scheffler then stopped his vehicle at the entrance to Valhalla,” Darlington wrote on car When Scheffler got out of the vehicle, the officer pushed him against the car and immediately handcuffed him.

“At that moment (Scheffler) – seeing me behind him – said to me ‘can you help me?’ The police asked me to step back,” Darlington told the audience shortly after.

In a video posted on X an hour later, Darlington follows the police as they take Scheffler away. Several police officers tell him to back off.

“Right now he’s going to jail. He’s going to jail and there’s nothing you can do about it. said an officer in Darlington, referring to Scheffler. Darlington clarifies that he is a member of the media and the police reiterate that he needs to step back.

“The officers around the patrol car that Scottie Scheffler was in didn’t even know he was Scottie Scheffler,” Darlington said on air. “I say this because a police officer came up to me with his clipboard and said… can you tell me the name of the person who was just arrested.”

Darlington said the players were told they were allowed into the facility and Scheffler said he kept walking past the police vehicle because he “didn’t know he was a police officer “.

Scheffler was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer — a felony — as well as lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and failure to obey signals from officers directing traffic, records show Jefferson County Courts. He has been released from prison, according to the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

Attorney Steve Romines, who represents Scheffler, told CNN affiliate WLKY that the golfer bypassed police because of a misunderstanding.

“They were directing traffic, he took out his media credential and walked in like they were asked to do,” Romines said. Scheffler’s attorney declined to comment on why the golfer was charged with assault, saying he would let the matter play out in court.

The PGA Championship tournament was delayed an hour and a half and began around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“This morning we were devastated to learn that an employee of one of our vendors was tragically struck and killed by a shuttle bus outside Valhalla Golf Club,” PGA said in a statement. “This is heartbreaking for all of us involved in the PGA Championship. We extend our sincere condolences to their family and loved ones.

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