Golfer Scottie Scheffler arrested at PGA event in Louisville

Scottie Scheffler, the top golfer in the world, was arrested and charged with felony assault on a police officer and reckless driving after a chaotic incident just outside of the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, early Friday morning.

Scheffler was released without bail within hours and returned to make his tee time for the second round of the tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club. He shot a 66, five under par, moving up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth place after beginning the day tied for 12th.

The 27-year-old golfer was detained after he drove on a median toward the entrance to the club and initially failed to heed an officer’s order to stop, according to an ESPN reporter who witnessed the incident.

Traffic outside the entrance at the time was being rerouted after a man was hit and killed by a shuttle bus earlier that day.

A Louisville Metro Police Department report alleged that around 6:16 a.m. ET, Scheffler swerved into opposing traffic lanes to avoid backed-up traffic and gain access to the golf course.

A Louisville Police detective, in uniform and wearing a high-visibility rain jacket, stopped Scheffler and tried to give him instructions, but the golfer “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging [the officer] to the ground,” the report said.

The detective, Bryan Gillis “suffered pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knee” and was taken to a hospital, according to the report, which was obtained by NBC affiliate WAVE3 in Louisville.

“Detective Gillis’ uniform pants, valued at approximately $80 were damaged beyond repair,” the report noted.

Scheffler, who won his second Masters tournament last month, in a statement released shortly before his scheduled tee time Friday morning said the incident was the result of a “big misunderstanding.”

Mugshot of PGA Golfer Scott Alexander Scheffler, who was arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer after trying to enter the PGA Championship venue, on May 17, 2024.

Source: Louisville Metro Police Department

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers. It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier,” Scheffler said in a post on his official Instagram account.

“There was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do,” he said. “I never intended to disregard any of the instructions. I’m hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.”

The Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections website showed that Scheffler was booked at 7:28 a.m. ET.

The booking information initially showed charges of second-degree assault on a police officer — a felony — as well as third-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic.

Scheffler was released from the Louisville facility without bail shortly before 9 a.m. ET, according to WAVE3.

Scottie Scheffler arrives to the course during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 17, 2024.

Ben Jared | PGA Tour | Getty Images

“We’ll just let it all play out, that’s the extent of what we know. It’s moving pretty fast at this time, but we’ll litigate the case as it comes,” Scheffler’s lawyer, Steve Romines, told reporters after the golfer’s release.

In a statement to CNBC, Romines said Scheffler was driving to the golf course to start his preround preparations and “proceeding as directed by another traffic officer.”

“Due to the combination of event traffic and a traffic fatality in the area, it was a very chaotic situation,” Romines said.

“In the confusion, Scottie is alleged to have disregarded a different officer’s traffic signals resulting in these charges,” the attorney said, adding, “multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that he did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed.”

“He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle,” according to Romines.”

Scottie Scheffler of the U.S. and his caddie, Ted Scott, walk to the driving range during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 17, 2024.

Ross Kinnaird | Getty Images

Scheffler, who has won four of the last five tournaments he started, teed off just after 10:08 a.m. ET from the 10th hole for the second day of the championship. He arrived at Valhalla Golf Club around 9:10 a.m. ET, giving him less than an hour to prepare.

The PGA Tour and PGA of America referred CNBC to Scheffler’s statement when asked for comment on his arrest.

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington said Friday morning that he saw Scheffler “detained by police officers, placed in the back of a police vehicle in handcuffs after he tried to pull around what he believed to be security.”

Scottie Scheffler tees off No. 10 to begin his second round of the PGA Championship, May 17, 2024, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Matthew Maxey | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

“When he didn’t stop, the police officer attached himself to the vehicle. Scheffler then traveled another 10 yards before stopping the car,” Darlington said on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

“The police officer then grabbed at his arm, attempting to pull him out of the car, before Scheffler eventually opened the door at which point the police officer pulled Scheffler out of the car, pushed him up against the car and immediately placed him in handcuffs,” Darlington said.

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