World No1 golfer Scottie Scheffler 'in shock' after being arrested as he reveals he warmed up for US PGA in jail cell

17 May 2024, 22:02 | Updated: 18 May 2024, 01:34

Scottie Scheffler was detained by police near the PGA Championship course
Scottie Scheffler was detained by police near the PGA Championship course. Picture: Alamy/Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections

By Emma Soteriou

World number one golfer Scottie Scheffler has said he was "in shock" after being arrested as he revealed he warmed up for the US PGA Championship in his jail cell.

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The golf pro was charged with assaulting a police officer outside the course after allegedly trying to get around a traffic jam caused by an earlier unrelated accident, in which a pedestrian died after being struck by a shuttle bus.

Tournament officials said they were "devastated" by the death of local man John Mills, who was working for an on-site vendor at Valhalla.

Scheffler was detained but released just in time to tee off at the course on Friday at around 10.08am local time (15:08 BST).

The Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections, who posted a mugshot of the world number one, said he was booked in at 7.28am local time and released at 8.40am.

Arriving on the course, Scheffler described his arrest as "a big misunderstanding" following "a very chaotic situation".

In footage shared very widely online, Scheffler, 27, was earlier seen being led into a police car in handcuffs as he tried to enter the club before his second round of the PGA Championship.

Scheffler faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Golfer Scottie Scheffler detained by police

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Speaking after a remarkable second round of 66, which left him two shots off the clubhouse lead held by Collin Morikawa, Scheffler began by expressing his sympathies to the family of Mr Mills.

"I can't imagine what they're going through this morning," he said.

"My situation will get handled. It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding. I can't get into what transpired, outside of my heart goes out to the family."

He went on to say: "I was pretty rattled to say the least.

"The officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great. We had a nice chat in the car, that kind of helped calm me down.

"I was never angry. I was shaking for like an hour, 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 to control my mind, control my breathing."

Scheffler said he was not wearing a watch and had no access to his phone, so only began thinking about making his tee time when he saw himself on TV from his cell.

"The officers downstairs, they were discussing how long it was going to take me to get released," he said.

"Obviously we have to go through all the due process and everything. I was able to kind of see a bit of the TV, and then I laid down and then I started to stretch a little bit once I got my heart rate down a little bit."

Scottie Scheffler during the PGA Championship, after returning to the course following his arrest
Scottie Scheffler during the PGA Championship, after returning to the course following his arrest. Picture: Alamy

Scheffler is reported to have been asked to stop his vehicle, but he kept driving for around 20 yards.

A police officer told an ESPN reporter who was near the scene: “Right now he’s going to jail.

“He’s going to jail and there’s nothing you can do about it. Period.”

The second round of the 2024 PGA Championship was delayed by around 80 minutes due to the pedestrian fatality near the course.

Shortly before Scheffler got his second round under way, a statement was issued on behalf of the Masters champion on social media.

"This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers," Scheffler said.

"It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.

"I never intended to disregard any of the instructions. I'm hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.

"Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man who passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything in perspective."

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, who witnessed the incident, said on air: "Traffic had been backed up and building, Scottie Scheffler tried to enter Valhalla Golf Club using a side median, at which point a police officer instructed him to stop.

"Scheffler attempted to continue to go, the police officer then attached himself to the side of Scheffler's car.

"Scheffler stopped the vehicle as he turned into Valhalla Golf Club at the entrance about 10 to 20 yards from the point at which the police officer first told him to stop.

"At that point the police officer instructed Scheffler to get out of the car.

"He rolled down the window, the police officer grabbed his arm and started pulling at it. He reached inside, opened the car door, pulled Scheffler out, pushed him up against the car, immediately placed him in handcuffs."