A big misunderstanding: Scottie Scheffler turns focus to US PGA after arrest

Scottie Scheffler has described his arrest on the way to the US PGA Championship in Valhalla on Friday morning as “a big misunderstanding” following “a very chaotic situation”.

Scheffler was arrested by Louisville Metro Police after trying to drive into the golf club in heavy traffic caused by an earlier, unrelated accident in which a pedestrian died after being struck by a shuttle bus.

Tournament officials said they were “devastated” by the death of local man John Mills, who was working for an on-site vendor at Valhalla.

Scheffler, the world number one, faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

Tee times in the second round were delayed by 80 minutes due to the fatal accident, with tournament officials revealing that the person killed was a worker with one of the on-site vendors.

Shortly before Scheffler got his second round under way at 1008 local time (1508 BST), a statement was issued on behalf of the Masters champion on social media.

“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 in perspective.”

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, who witnessed the incident, said on air: “Traffic had been backed up and building, Scottie Scheffler tried to enter Valhalla Golf Club using a side median, at which point a police officer instructed him to stop.

Scottie Scheffler
Screen grab taken from the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections of Scottie Scheffler’s mugshot. World number one Scottie Scheffler has been detained by police for reportedly attempting to get around a traffic jam caused by a fatal accident near Valhalla (PA Media)

“Scheffler stopped the vehicle as he turned into Valhalla Golf Club at the entrance about 10 to 20 yards from the point at which the police officer first told him to stop.

“At that point the police officer instructed Scheffler to get out of the car.

“He rolled down the window, the police officer grabbed his arm and started pulling at it. He reached inside, opened the car door, pulled Scheffler out, pushed him up against the car, immediately placed him in handcuffs.”

According to the police report, Detective Gillis stopped Scheffler’s car and “attempted to give instruction.

“Subject refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground. 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.”

In a statement, Scheffler’s attorney Steve Romines said the player was proceeding as directed by a traffic officer and is alleged to have disregarded signals from another officer “in the confusion”.

“Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that he did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed,” the statement added.

“He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle. We will litigate this matter as needed.”

LMPD had earlier released a statement on the traffic accident, which took place around 5am.

“Our preliminary investigation found that an adult male pedestrian was crossing Shelbyville Road south to north when he was struck by a shuttle bus that was travelling eastbound in the compulsory centre lane dedicated for buses,” the statement read.

“As a result, the pedestrian received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene. The LMPD Traffic Unit is investigating.”

The PGA of America said in a statement: “Our primary concern today remains with the family of John Mills, who lost his life in a tragic accident early this morning while reporting to work.

“As it relates to the incident involving Scottie Scheffler, we are fully cooperating as local authorities review what took place.

“While the legal process plays out, questions should to be directed to Scheffler’s attorney or local authorities.”

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