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Police arrest golf world No.1 Scheffler outside PGA course

Scottie Scheffler. Photo: David Cannon/ David Cannon Collection / Getty Images via AFP

Golf world number one Scottie Scheffler was handcuffed and arrested by police early Friday after allegedly dragging a police officer with his car while trying to avoid traffic controls outside the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

In one of the strangest scenes ever at a major tournament, Scheffler was taken into custody by police, booked with a mugshot taken in an orange jumpsuit, released, then taken back to the course for breakfast and practice before finally teeing off in the second round.

Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police after he drove onto curbing to try and get around an accident at the entrance of the golf course, one that resulted in the fatality of a pedestrian, and was confronted by police.

Scheffler was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and released on his own recognizance.

While on the driving range preparing to tee off, Scheffler released a statement about the incident.

“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 into perspective.”

A police report on the incident obtained by ESPN said arresting officer Bryan Gillis says Scheffler disobeyed orders to stop his car and accelerated, dragging the officer to the ground.

Gillis was hospitalized with pain, bruising and swelling in his left wrist and knee. An arraignment is set for Tuesday.

Two-time Masters champion Scheffler arrived at Valhalla’s clubhouse about 30 minutes after his release and just under an hour before his start time off the 10th tee in the second round, which began after an 80-minute delay due to the accident.

“We were devastated to learn that a worker with one of our vendors was tragically struck and killed by a shuttle bus outside Valhalla Golf Club,” the PGA of America said in a statement.

“This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship.”

Scheffler was driven, by the owner of Valhalla Golf Club according to ESPN, to the clubhouse, where he ate breakfast and changed into his golf apparel before going to the practice range to prepare for his round.

“It’s a tough deal,” said Scheffler playing partner Brian Harman, the 2023 British Open winner. “But I’m glad to see him.”

Fans cheered as Scheffler walked through the rain onto the par-5 10th tee and gave him a huge ovation just before he struck his first shot into the right rough on his way to an opening birdie.

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.

SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio reported Scheffler was booked into custody by police at 7:38 a.m. before Scheffler’s mugshot in an orange jumpsuit was posted by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington posted a video on X of Scheffler, wearing shorts and T-shirt, with his hands held behind his back, being led away by police in the pre-dawn incident.

Darlington said Scheffler was unaware a person at the entrance was a police officer because they were clad in a yellow rain poncho.

Four wins in five tries

Scheffler was the feel-good story of the week at Valhalla, hoping to win his third career major title a week after becoming a father for the first time.

His wife, Meredith, gave birth to son Bennett nine days ago.

Scheffler fired a four-under par 67 in Thursday’s opening round, but began Friday five strokes adrift of leader Xander Schauffele, the world number three who matched the lowest round in major golf history with a 62 Thursday.

Scheffler, 27, has won four of his past five starts, capturing titles at Bay Hill and the Players in March, losing in a playoff at the Houston Open, then winning the Masters and Heritage crowns last month.

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