Sports

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler arrested before start of PGA Championship

PGA Championship Golf
Posted at 7:34 AM, May 17, 2024

(WXYZ) — Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was detained by police Friday morning on his way to the PGA Championship, with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was led to a police car. ESPN reported he failed to follow police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation.

Traffic was backed up for about a mile in both directions on the only road that leads to Valhalla Golf Club, with dozens of police vehicles flashing red-and-blue lights near the entrance.

Police said a pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing the road in a lane that was dedicated to tournament traffic.

ESPN said Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world who was to start the second round at 8:48 a.m., drove past a police officer in his SUV with markings on the door indicating it was a PGA Championship vehicle. The officer screamed at him to stop and then attached himself to the car until Scheffler stopped about 10 yards later.

Jeff Darlington of ESPN watched this unfold. He said police pulled Scheffler out of the car, pushed him up against the car and immediately placed him in handcuffs.

“Scheffler was then walked over to the police car, placed in the back, in handcuffs, very stunned about what was happening, looked toward me as he was in those handcuffs and said, ‘Please help me,’" Darlington said. “He very clearly did not know what was happening in the situation. It moved very quickly, very rapidly, very aggressively.”

Louisville Metro police spokesman Dwight Mitchell told Louisville radio station WHAS the man was crossing Shelbyville Road about 5 a.m. and the bus didn't see him. Mitchell said the man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The PGA Championship posted a notice that play would be delayed because of the accident. The second round was to start 1 hour, 20 minutes later than scheduled tee times, meaning Scheffler was not due to start until a little after 10 a.m.

Rain began pounding Valhalla a short time later, and with recent rain earlier in the week that twice shut down the course, play was likely to be halted even longer.

With cars backed up in the morning darkness, other PGA-marked vehicles tried to move slowly toward the entrance. Traffic finally began to move gradually a little before 7 a.m.

It was a surreal start to what already has been a wild week of weather — the Masters champion and top-ranked player in the world, dressed in workout clothes with his hands in cuffs behind his back amid flashing flights.

Darlington said police were not sure who Scheffler was. He said an officer asked him to leave and when he identified himself being with the media, he was told, “There's nothing you can do. He's going to jail.”

Darlington said another police officer later approached with a notepad and asked if he knew the name of the person they put in handcuffs.

Scheffler is coming off four victories in his last five tournaments, including his second Masters title. He was home in Dallas the last three weeks waiting on the birth of his first child, a son that was born May 8.

Scheffler opened with a 4-under 67 and was five shots out of the lead as he tries to become only the fifth player since 1960 to win the first two majors of the year.