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Scottie Scheffler is arrested outside PGA Championship after interaction with police

Scottie Scheffler reacts before teeing off Friday on during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Scheffler was arrested and charged after an interaction early Friday morning with a police officer directing traffic into to the club.
Scottie Scheffler reacts before teeing off Friday on during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Scheffler was arrested and charged after an interaction early Friday morning with a police officer directing traffic into to the club.
Michael Reaves | Getty Images

The world’s top-ranked golfer, Scottie Scheffler, faces four criminal charges after an interaction with police early Friday morning as he attempted to arrive by car at a Louisville golf club where this week’s PGA Championship is being held.

The incident took place at the entrance to the Valhalla Golf Club, where Louisville police had halted traffic Friday morning after an unrelated incident in which a pedestrian — an employee of a vendor working at the golf tournament — had been struck and killed by a shuttle bus.

The Louisville police report, published by local radio station WHAS, said that Scheffler refused to comply with officers directing traffic and dragged an officer with his car.

A lawyer representing Scheffler, Steve Romines, disputed that version of events in an email to NPR.

“He was proceeding as directed by another traffic officer and driving a marked player’s vehicle with credentials visible,” Romines said. “He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle.”

Scheffler’s charges include one felony count of second-degree assault of a police officer, along with three misdemeanors: criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic. An arraignment has been set for Tuesday. Scheffler plans to plead not guilty, Romines said.

Scottie Scheffler is seen in a police booking photo after being arrested for refusing to stop at a traffic barricade while trying to enter the Valhalla Golf Course on Friday in Louisville, Ky.
Scottie Scheffler is seen in a police booking photo after being arrested for refusing to stop at a traffic barricade while trying to enter the Valhalla Golf Course on Friday in Louisville, Ky.
Handout/Louisville Department of Corrections via Getty Images

In a statement posted to his Instagram, Scheffler said he had never intended to disregard any police instructions.

“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,” Scheffler said.

A video recorded by ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington showed a handcuffed Scheffler being led to a police cruiser by two officers. “Right now, he’s going to jail,” an officer is heard telling Darlington. “He’s going to jail, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.”

In the police report, the officer involved in the incident, Det. Bryan Gillis, said Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging [the officer] to the ground.” As a result, the report said, Gillis suffered “pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee” and was transported to a hospital for treatment.

According to public records, Scheffler was booked by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections at 7:28 a.m. local time. He was released just over an hour later. Police officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scheffler, 27, is the world’s No. 1 ranked men’s golfer and is fresh off a win at last month’s Masters Tournament. After his release, Scheffler arrived at the golf club and teed off at 10:08 a.m. as scheduled, then made a birdie on his first hole of the day.

In a statement, the PGA said it was “devastated” to learn of the traffic death that killed a vendor’s employee. “This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship. We extend our sincere condolences to their family and loved ones,” the organization said.

The worker had been walking across the main road near the golf club’s entry gates when he was hit by the bus, according to Louisville police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell. “Unfortunately, the bus didn't see him and struck the individual. He was pronounced dead on the scene and our traffic unit is investigating at this time,” Mitchell said in an interview with WHAS, according to a statement from the PGA.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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