Scottie Scheffler arrested in alleged assault on police officer outside PGA Championship, then returns to play


World number one golfer Scottie Scheffler was arrested and charged with felony assault Friday morning outside the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, after allegedly injuring a police officer while trying to drive past the scene of a fatal accident .

Scheffler was charged with second-degree assault on a police officer, as well as lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and failure to obey signals from officers directing traffic, according to state court records. Jefferson County.

He was later released from prison and returned to Valhalla Golf Course for the second round of the tournament. Shortly after 10 a.m., he hit his first tee shot of the day, drawing a round of applause from the crowd, and birdied the first hole.

LIVE UPDATES: Golfer Scottie Scheffler arrested outside PGA Championship

Scheffler’s lawyer told CNN he plans to plead not guilty to the charges. In a statement, Scheffler called the incident “a big misunderstanding.”

“This morning, I was following the instructions of the police. It was a very chaotic situation, which is understandable given the tragic accident that happened earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding about what I thought I was being asked to do,” he said. declared in a press release on Instagram. “It was never my intention to ignore any of the instructions. I hope to put that aside and focus on golf today.

The arrest of the world’s best golfer – known as an “honest and exceptional” player who became a father just days ago – has dramatically transformed one of golf’s major tournaments into, as the presenter put it from ESPN Dave Flemming, “a championship in chaos”. Scheffler, 27, won his second Masters title last month and was the heavy favorite for the PGA Championship.

Louisville Department of Corrections

Star golfer Scottie Scheffler was arrested, had his photo taken, was charged with four felonies, then released Friday morning before the start of the PGA Championship.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

After his arrest, Scottie Scheffler warmed up before the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday.

The incident began when Scheffler went to Valhalla Golf Club for the second round of the tournament around 6 a.m., according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, who witnessed and filmed the arrest.

Earlier in the morning, a pedestrian was fatally struck by a bus while trying to cross the main road leading to the course, Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman Dwight Mitchell said. This is why there was an increased police presence at the entrance to the course.

When Scheffler arrived in a player-marked courtesy vehicle, he attempted to drive around the scene of the accident in a central reservation, according to ESPN, which was first to report Scheffler’s detention. “A police officer ordered Scheffler to stop, but Scheffler continued driving approximately 10 to 20 yards toward the entrance,” ESPN said.

“Scheffler then stopped his vehicle at the entrance to Valhalla. The officer then began yelling at Scheffler to get out of the car. When Scheffler exited the vehicle, the officer pushed him against the car and immediately handcuffed him,” Darlington posted on X.

Police escorted Scheffler in handcuffs into a police vehicle, Darlington’s video shows.

“He’s going to jail now,” an officer at the scene says in the video.

According to a Louisville Metropolitan Police report obtained, Scheffler was attempting to gain access to the golf course when he was stopped by a police officer wearing a full police uniform and reflective yellow rain jacket. The officer, identified as Det. Bryan Gillis stopped Scheffler and attempted to give instructions.

“The subject refused to comply and accelerated, pulling Detective Gillis to the ground,” the report states.

The detective suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee and was taken to the hospital for further treatment, the report states. His uniform pants, worth about $80, “were damaged beyond repair,” the report added.

Lawyer calls arrest a ‘misunderstanding’

Louisville police are expected to make a statement regarding the arrest Friday after reviewing video of the incident, a senior law enforcement official said. Preliminary information indicates an officer attempted to stop Scheffler from going around the detour, and Scheffler’s car came into contact with that officer. The police officer was not seriously injured.

Scheffler’s attorney, Steven Romines, told CNN in a statement Friday that Scheffler was heading to the golf course to prepare for his tee time at the PGA Championship.

“Due to the combination of event traffic and a fatal road accident in the area, the situation was very chaotic. He was proceeding under the instructions of another traffic officer and driving a player’s vehicle marked with the identifying information visible,” Romines said. “In the confusion, Scottie allegedly ignored another officer’s traffic signals, resulting in these charges.”

Romines says several eyewitnesses confirmed that Scheffler “did nothing wrong” but drove as instructed.

“He stopped immediately after being directed and did not at any time assault a police officer with his vehicle,” the statement said. “We will plead not guilty and plead this case if necessary.”

Scheffler’s arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

PGA of America, the organizer of the PGA Championship, identified the pedestrian who died in the earlier accident as John Mills, an employee of a supplier to the organization.

“Our main concern today remains the family of John Mills, who lost his life in a tragic accident early this morning while reporting for work,” the organization said.

“Regarding the incident involving Scottie Scheffler, we are cooperating fully as local authorities look into what happened. While the legal process unfolds, questions should be directed to Scheffler’s attorney or local authorities.”

In separate statements, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear offered condolences to the victim’s family and called the ensuing incident with Scheffler and police “unfortunate.” .

“LMPD is fully investigating this incident and the legal process will continue. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation,” Greenberg said.

The man’s death “really puts everything into perspective,” Scheffler said in his statement.

Warren Petit/Getty Images

Scheffler has enjoyed a remarkable run of success recently and won the Masters for the second time last month.

Scheffler’s arrest represents a stark contrast to his clean image, said David Dusek, senior editor of Golfweek.

“Scottie Scheffler is one of the most impeccable, upright, exceptional and respected players here on the PGA Tour,” Dusek said. “He is someone who is known for having a very calm and level head on the golf course and he keeps it when he is off the golf course as well.”

After an excellent 2023 campaign that saw him retain the PGA Tour Player of the Year award, Scheffler has only solidified his status as the dominant force in men’s golf this season. Just a week after a stunning victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he launched a stunning late charge to become the first player to defend the Players Championship.

Since then, the 27-year-old has looked unstoppable, as his victory at the RBC Heritage – just a week after donning his second green jacket at Augusta – gave him four wins in five starts.

Last week, Scheffler stepped away from the competition to be with his wife Meredith as she gave birth to the couple’s first child, Bennett.

“Sitting at home with the girl I dated in high school with our kid and then the green jacket sitting in the closet is a pretty insane feeling,” he said, “and I just wanted to be that grateful as possible. »

After Thursday’s game at Louisville, Scheffler was looking forward to trying to “clean up some mistakes,” he said.

“I missed two putts and I felt like I should have made it today, but that’s going to happen when the greens get chewed up a little bit,” he said. “I felt like there were a few things I could clean up before tomorrow, but overall today was a solid day.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong last name for attorney Steve Romines.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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