Scottie Scheffler was arrested on a very strange day in major golf

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Louisville, Ky. – The most shocking day in the history of golf’s major championships began with a tragedy, and the men’s No. 1 player in the world, Scotty Scheffler, was arrested, booked into a local jail, and released in time.

Just after 5 a.m. on a rainy Friday morning, police were called to the street outside the Valhalla Golf Club. A shuttle bus traveling on Shelbyville Road struck and killed John Mills, a local man working at the PGA Championship for a tournament vendor.

The horrific crash brought traffic to a standstill in both directions outside Valhalla, which is hosting a major championship for the first time in a decade. An hour later, Scheffler arrived on the scene and, amid a steady rain and flashing police lights, entered the hole and began preparations for an 8:48 a.m. tee time for Round 2 of the PGA Championship. It is common, even common, for police and security to be present outside of a major championship routine. “I drive by guards like this 10 times a year,” said one PGA Tour swing coach, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

What happened next was typical. According to a Louisville Police Department arrest report, Scheffler, who was traveling eastbound, attempted to move his vehicle into the westbound lanes when Detective Brian Gillis attempted to stop the vehicle. The police report said Scheffler continued to “pull Detective Gillies to the ground” and continued to advance, noting that he suffered injuries that required medical treatment, as well as irreparable damage to his $80 uniform. Jeff Darlington, an ESPN NFL reporter assigned to cover the second golf major of the year, was on the scene and witnessed it, reporting that Scheffler’s vehicle had moved 10 to 20 yards before coming to a final stop.

Scheffler’s attorney, Steve Romines, said Scheffler was directed to pull over first and that the officer directing traffic was not part of the incident traffic detail. “So that’s where the miscommunication arose, and that’s why we’re here,” Romaines said Friday morning.

When Scheffler stopped, he rolled down his window and the officer reached in, grabbed Scheffler’s arm and opened the door, Darlington said. The officer then handcuffed Scheffler and pushed him against the car. As Scheffler was led toward a police car in the dark by rain, video captured by Darlington shows Scheffler asking, “Can you help me?” showed that return.

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



Scheffler was booked into the Louisville Department of Corrections at 7:28 a.m. and faces charges of second-degree assault on a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding a traffic signal for an officer directing traffic. A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Scheffler was released at 8:40 a.m. and escorted to Valhalla in a black SUV, after posing for mugshot photos in an orange jumpsuit that were soon posted online and lingering in a jail cell, wondering if he would be released in time. In the passenger seat is owner Jimmy Kirchdorfer. He arrived on the course at 9:12 a.m., less than an hour before his 10:08 a.m. tee time, which was delayed along with starts for other courses due to a long backup caused by the accident.

Scheffler walked into the clubhouse, grabbed a quick breakfast, and headed to the driving range for a short practice session of just over 30 minutes.

All eyes were on Scheffler’s team as they made their way through the practice area and across the player bridge connecting the green and range. Players turned heads as the world No. 1 drove from the range to an open bay in the middle of the hitting area as 30 media members followed as closely as allowed.

“Are you good?” Rickie Fowler asked Scheffler.

“All good,” Scheffler replied.


Crowds of thousands stood in the rain, peeking their heads from corner to corner, hoping to catch a glimpse of the world’s No. 1 player and the No. 1 title at the Games. Dozens of cameras were set up on either side of the 10th fairway, and every reporter seemed to squeeze themselves into the ropes with a credential. This is the gallery that only saw Tiger Woods in his prime.

Then the 6-foot-3 Scheffler stepped between the tar fences and appeared under a large umbrella wearing a white leg zip and blue pants. Before the starter Scheffler’s name was announced, the Louisville crowd unleashed a roar that most spectators agreed was exponentially louder than the first tee walk they’d heard.

“Scott—I mean! Scott—I mean! Scott—I mean! They chanted.

One fan shouted, “Free Scotty!” Another said, “You look great in orange!” One said, “One of us!” said. In recent weeks, pieces have been written about Scheffler’s lack of charisma to match his top spot in golf. On Friday morning, behind Scheffler, the entire property, which had never had a gallery, was a surreal scene of Scheffler’s lionization after his arrest.


Scheffler walks into the Valhalla clubhouse after being released from a Louisville jail. (Ben Jarrett/PGA Tour via Getty Images)

As he hit his opening tee shot and walked down the first fairway, Scheffler walked with playing partners Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman. He animatedly told them a story, vividly describing what had happened on Friday morning. Harman looked back in shock. “The whole world’s on your side” was heard before another “Scotty!” as Scheffler hit his first approach shot from the hole for an easy birdie. On the way to number 11 chants broke out.

Scheffler’s 5.5-hour round continued as it was, a mix of fervent support and youthful humor that quickly made one forget the death of a man leading up to the moment. No. When he debuted at 15, a fan asked, “What is this, a project to publish a work?” said. Another said to the security forces of the police officers, “What? Are you going to leave him alone? ” The officers laughed.

But chants of “Free Scotty” persisted. On the 16th hole, a fan named Bob Parks proudly unbuttoned his jacket and held it apart with his hands as Scheffler and company looked at his white T-shirt with “Free Scotty” scrawled in black marker. Scheffler, head down all day, didn’t notice. A few yards away, another group of three displayed identical shirts. Upon seeing the news around 7:30 a.m., other fans printed shirts with Scheffler’s mugshot. Another man, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, said he stopped at Party City on the way.

Scheffler said after his round that his body shook for an hour as he sat in a jail cell trying to slow his heart rate. He didn’t know if he would be able to play, so he did his stretching routine as long as possible in a cell, knowing it would be a tight turn if he returned to the course. “It’s a first for me,” he joked. The officer who took him into the station was kind and they had a good conversation, so while he was waiting to go in, he asked, “Hey, excuse me, can you talk to me for a few minutes? Can I calm down?” Scheffler said in shock, saying he was never angry. At one point he looked up from his room and saw his arrest on ESPN.

A senior officer looked at Scheffler and asked: “So you want the full experience today?”

Scheffler looked back at the officer, confused, saying he didn’t know how to answer that.

“Come on, man, you want a sandwich?” The officer repeated. So Scheffler, who hadn’t eaten, ate a sandwich.


Some fans even went so far as to quickly print t-shirts in support of Scotty Scheffler. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Eventually, an officer tapped his cell and said, “Let’s go.” Scheffler watched TV, checked the time, and realized he could make it if the traffic wasn’t bad. He got in the car and his manager, Blake Smith, asked him if he still wanted to play. Scheffler said of course. He walked out and immediately heard an overwhelming amount of support that he tried to focus on, but that support meant so much to him.

Despite all the confusion surrounding the wild day, Scheffler shot a 66 to enter the clubhouse behind the leaders. It was a better round than the one he played on Thursday.

As Scheffler finished the back nine, his security detail was asked if they had been cut off all day.

“Yes,” said the officer. “I’ll make us suffer too.”


A group of players gathered in the Valhalla locker room and pondered what to do. Will Zalatoris said there have been conversations about going to the PGA of America and stopping for the second round. A man died. And the leading contender, the world’s No. 1, was arrested.

“It was weird,” Zalatoris said.

Even before Friday’s tragedy, Zalatoris thought the tournament was a logistical mess and told his parents not to come. “I’m not happy to be proven right,” he said. He said it takes nearly an hour to get to the course each day, despite being a half-mile away, and on Friday it was so bad that he left his wife in the car and he, Cameron Young and Austin Eggrott walked the highway. Of course. Once they got there, the competing workers had no idea who they were or whether they should be allowed in.

Two-time major champion Colin Morikawa, like Zalatoris and others, wanted to pause the conversation and remind everyone of the worst thing that happened on Friday.

“It’s unfortunate for the person who passed away earlier today,” Morikawa said. “I don’t think it’s being talked about enough or talked about.”

As Scheffler walked into his packed news conference Friday afternoon, he took a deep breath and began talking about John Mills. He downplayed the contacts that led to the arrest, saying he could not comment on it but said it would be handled. Instead, he reflected on Mills’ family.

“I can’t imagine what they were going through this morning,” Scheffler said. “One day he goes to the golf course to watch a match. A few minutes later he tries to cross the street and now he is no longer with us. I can’t imagine what they are going through. My heart – I feel for them. forgive me.”

There are now two days left in the PGA Championship, and Scheffler is in the mix for a second straight major win. His legal troubles await after the tournament. His arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to online court records.

Scheffler tried to get back to her normal routine Friday afternoon, with plans to hit the gym a little later. His focus will calm down from his strange Friday morning and try to get back to normal over the weekend. Can’t stretch out in a jail cell anymore.

(Photo: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

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