Scheffler arrested before PGA Championship second round

Published May 18, 2024
SCOTTIE Scheffler of the US tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club on Friday.—Reuters
SCOTTIE Scheffler of the US tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club on Friday.—Reuters

LOUISVILLE: World number one Scottie Scheffler was arrested and charged with the assault of a police officer in what he called a “chaotic situation” before being released in time to start his second round at the PGA Championship on Friday.

Scheffler, who was placed in the back of a police car in handcuffs and later pictured in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit, said the early-morning incident was due to a misunderstanding with regards to traffic flow following a fatal accident in the area around Valhalla Golf Club.

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler said on social media. “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.”

According to the police report, Scheffler was heading eastbound to gain access to the course and then pulled into the westbound lanes, where outbound traffic was flowing, to avoid backed-up vehicles.

The report said the officer stopped Scheffler, who was in a marked player-courtesy vehicle, but that the golfer refused to comply and instead accelerated forward, dragging the officer to the ground.

Louisville police said the officer was taken to hospital after suffering pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee.

Steve Romines, a local attorney hired on Scheffler’s behalf, said the golfer was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer.

“He did exactly as he was instructed to do to enter the premises,” said Romines. “We’ll just deal with the court system as it comes.”

After finally arriving at Valhalla under a steady rain, Scheffler was greeted by plenty of encouragement from the fans and headed straight to the driving range.

Fans cheered as Scheffler walked through the rain onto the 10th tee and gave him a huge ovation just before he struck his first shot into the right rough.

Scheffler, who won his second Masters title last month, is trying to become the first player since 2015 to win the first two majors in a calendar year.

Scheffler fired a four-under par 67 in Thursday’s opening round, topped by an amazing 167-yard, one-bounce eagle from the fairway on the first hole with a 9-iron.

That left him five strokes adrift of PGA Championship leader Xander Schauffele, the world number three who matched the lowest round in major golf history with a 62 Thursday.

Out with the early starters Schauffele set the target that no one in the 156-player field could match. Tony Finau, Mark Hubbard and Sahith Theegala came the closest, returning six-under 65s to sit three back.

World number two Rory McIlroy, coming off back-to-back PGA Tour wins, turned in a scrappy five-under 66 to settle in four off the pace alongside South Korean Tom Kim, Scotsman Robert MacIntyre, Belgium’s Thomas Detry and Americans Tom Hoge, Collin Morikawa and Maverick McNealy

Only two other men have returned 62s at a major, Rickie Fowler, also in the first round at the 2023 U.S. Open, and Branden Grace, in the third round at the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Schauffele set Valhalla’s course record, breaking the 63 fired by Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal in the first round of the 2000 PGA Championship.

Five-time major winner Brooks Koepka, the defending champion, eagled the par-5 seventh and birdied eight to shoot 67.

American Jordan Spieth, a three-time major winner who would complete a career Grand Slam with a victory at Valhalla, opened on 69.

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion, fired a 72 with three birdies and four bogeys.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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