No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler: From the course to jail and back after Friday arrest

May 17, 2024, 11:08 AM

Image: Scottie Scheffler celebrates after a birdie on the 10th hole during the second round of the ...

Scottie Scheffler celebrates after a birdie on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, May 17, 2024. (Photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)

(Photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two-time Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was arrested after police say he dragged an officer while trying to get around the scene of a fatal accident Friday ahead of the second round of the PGA Championship.

The 27-year-old Scheffler, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer, was attempting to get to Valhalla Golf Club outside Louisville, Kentucky, around 6 a.m. when police say he illegally bypassed the scene of an accident where a pedestrian was killed.

Scheffler was charged with multiple counts, including second-degree assault of a police officer and reckless driving. He was booked and had his mugshot taken before being released. Scheffler has called the chain of events a “big misunderstanding.”

He returned to Valhalla in time for his 10:08 a.m. tee time. Scheffler received a loud ovation from fans when he was introduced, then birdied his first hole of the day, the par-5 10th.

Who is Scottie Scheffler?

Scheffler arrived at Valhalla this week as a heavy favorite following a run of dominance in the sport not seen since Tiger Woods’ prime. He entered play Thursday having won four of the last five tournaments he entered, including the Masters — one of golf’s four major events — last month at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia.

The soft-spoken Texan is an unlikely star. He fell in love with the game as a child, sometimes hitting balls in the dark in northern New Jersey while his father Scott held a flashlight.

The Schefflers moved to Dallas during Scottie’s childhood, with Scott Scheffler serving as a “stay-at-home dad” while Scheffler’s mother Diane served as the CEO at a law firm.

Scheffler played multiple sports growing up before ultimately settling on golf. He’s hardly the only player in the family. His sister Callie played collegiately at Texas A&M.

He and his wife Meredith were high-school sweethearts and the Schefflers paint a portrait of a very unassuming life despite Scottie’s jet-fueled rise to fame that began in 2022 when he claimed his first Masters. The process has only sped up over the last few months as Scheffler turned his gap over world No. 2 Rory McIlroy into more of a canyon.

Scheffler is an admitted homebody who prefers playing board games and relaxing by watching Instagram videos rather than indulging in the trappings of his success. He’s won over $61 million already in his career, including $18 million this season alone.

The Schefflers welcomed their first child, son Bennett, on May 8, leading Scheffler to reflect recently on how his life has played out.

“I married my high school sweetheart and I always wanted to play professional golf, and now I’m here,” he said. “I was sitting there with a newborn in my arms and the green jacket in the closet. It was a pretty special time.”

Image: Golfer Scottie Scheffler is seen in a mug shot provided by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections Friday, May 17, 2024.

Golfer Scottie Scheffler is seen in a mug shot provided by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections Friday, May 17, 2024. (Photo: Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections via AP)

What happened to Scheffler at the PGA Championship?

Scheffler was attempting to get to Valhalla for an early stretch/workout ahead of his second-round tee time, initially scheduled for 8:48 a.m.

A vendor working at the course was struck and killed by a bus just after 5 a.m. while trying to cross a four-lane road. Traffic was backed up in both directions heading into the course while police conducted an investigation.

Scheffler was driving past the scene at around 6 a.m. when a police officer told him to stop. Police say the officer attached himself to the vehicle Scheffler was operating. Scheffler stopped, and the officer ordered Scheffler out of the car before putting him in handcuffs.

Louisville police say the officer was sent to the hospital after being dragged “to the ground” and suffering “pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist” after Scheffler’s vehicle “accelerated forward.”

Scheffler was booked at 7:28 a.m. — about 2 1/2 hours before his updated tee time after the second round was delayed because of the fatality. He donned an orange jumpsuit and had his mugshot taken before being released. Scheffler said in a statement he never intended to break any traffic laws, expressed sympathy for the “tragic accident” and detailed the sequence of events that led to his arrest as a “big misunderstanding.”

The world’s top-ranked golfer then returned to Valhalla just after 9 a.m., emerging from the clubhouse about 20 minutes later to begin preparations for his round. Wearing a white hat and quarter-zip jacket, he received an ovation as he made his way to the driving range, with one fan yelling “Free Scottie.”

There was a sense of normalcy as Scheffler went through his routine. Fellow PGA Tour player Brendon Todd greeted Scheffler by saying “good to see you.” Todd then showed Scheffler something on Todd’s phone, drawing a small chuckle from both.

Scheffler joined playing partners Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman at the 10th tee, with the gallery erupting when Scheffler was introduced. Scheffler’s initial tee shot found the right rough, though he eventually stuffed his approach shot on the par-5 to 3 feet and tapped in for birdie.

By the time Scheffler was at the midpoint of his round, fans were already wearing white “Free Scottie” T-shirts as they stood behind the ropes a few yards away.

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No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler: From the course to jail and back after Friday arrest