'I warmed up in jail': Scheffler shines at US PGA despite arrest and police assault charge (2024)

By James Corrigan in Louisville and Ben Rumsby

Scottie Scheffler has revealed how his body was “shaking in shock” after he was arrested for assaulting a police officer early on Friday morning and that he started his warm-up for the second round of the US PGA Championship in a jail cell.

The world No 1’s startling comments make his 66 at Valhalla even more remarkable, as he fought his way into contention at the season’s second major within hours of being pictured in an orange jumpsuit.

Scheffler, 27, is certain that “this situation will get resolved fairly quickly”, although as it stands he is facing four charges after a police report accused him of not following an officer’s instructions when driving through the gates of the course and, after failing to stop, of dragging the officer along when he accelerated.

After finishing his round and moving to nine-under and within two of early pacesetter Collin Morikawa, Scheffler reiterated his claim from an earlier statement that it was “a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding”.

However, the Texan did not blame the actions of Detective Bryan Gillis, who was hospitalised after the incident, and instead praised the police. After passing on his condolences to the family of John Mills, the Louisville resident who died after being knocked over by a shuttle bus in the 5am accident that caused the traffic restrictions, he recounted his emotions.

‘I was shaking for an hour’

“My head is still spinning,” Scheffler said. “I can’t really explain what happened this morning. I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell. That was a first for me. That was part of my warm-up. I was just sitting there waiting and I started going through my warm-up, I felt like there was a chance I may be able to still come out here and play. I started going through my routine and I tried to get my heart-rate down as much as I could.

“I was pretty rattled to say the least. But the officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great. We had a nice chat in the car and that kind of helped calm me down. I was sitting there waiting to go in [to the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Correction] and I asked him, ‘Can you just come hang out with me for a few minutes so I can calm down?’ I was never angry. I was just in shock, and my body was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour.”

Scheffler’s detention was captured on film outside Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, in the early hours of the morning when he “refused to comply” with instructions from Detective Gillis. Police had been called to a fatal collision between a shuttle bus and a tournament worker, Mills, on the road leading to the golf course and had closed it in both directions.

That resulted in a major traffic jam in which Scheffler, America’s reigning two-time Masters champion, was caught up while trying to enter the course for day two of the US PGA.

When he attempted to bypass the roadblock, he was stopped by Detective Gillis. He then drove through the blockade, allegedly “dragging Detective Gillis to the ground”.

According to Scheffler’s arrest report, “Detective Gillis suffered pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knees. He was transported to the hospital for further medical treatment by emergency medical personnel. Detective Gillis’ uniform pants, valued at approximately $80, were damaged beyond repair”.

Within an hour of his arrest, police released a mugshot of Scheffler in an orange jumpsuit at Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections and charged him with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic.

With his attorney, Steve Romines, insisting that Scheffler “did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed” and with the Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg promising an investigation, it would have been easy for the golfer to point the finger. But Scheffler is regarded as perhaps the most humble superstar in the sport and actually complimented the police.

“I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning,” he said. “That’s really all it was. This one older officer looked at me as I was doing my fingerprints and says, ‘So do you want the full experience today?’ I didn’t know what he meant but he said, ‘Come on, man, you want a sandwich?’ I was like, ‘Sure’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind.

“They had just had an accident. I didn’t know what had happened at the time, I didn’t know that it was fatal. But no, at no point did I try to name drop myself to defuse the situation. I just tried to remain as calm as possible and just follow instructions.”

Scheffler feared he would miss his tee-time that, because of the fatal accident, was put back 80 minutes to 10.08am. He could see himself on the police station’s television and was trying to work out if he could make it. He was released at 8.40am.

“I didn’t really feel like I would make my tee-time until one of the officers at the jail came by my cell and knocked on the window and said, ‘Let’s go’,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on out here. I didn’t know how long the delay was. At the time I couldn’t even remember what my original tee time [8.48am] was. I was shaking through shock and fear. My manager asked me if I wanted to play, and I was like, ‘of course’.

“Again, my heart goes out to the family [of Mills]. But outside of that, yeah, I’m grateful to be out here, doing what I love.”

Scheffler plays superb round after arrest – As it happened...

'I warmed up in jail': Scheffler shines at US PGA despite arrest and police assault charge (2024)

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