Scottie Scheffler Arrested at Entrance to Valhalla Golf Club

“I was shaking. I would say in shock and in fear.” –Scottie Scheffler.
Scottie Scheffler - 2024 PGA Championship
Scottie Scheffler - 2024 PGA Championship / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

In an early morning episode most everyone would like to forget, Scottie Scheffler thought he was doing the right thing by going around a traffic jam outside Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky, showing his credential to the officers who were there, and then preparing to turn into the property. But Scheffler was arrested.

As Scheffler tried to proceed, one of the officers at the entrance tried to stop him and somehow got himself “stuck” to Scheffler’s car. That’s the description that has been used by ESPN reporter, Jeff Darlington, who was also in traffic and happened to see the entire thing unfold. He took video with his phone and caught Scheffler’s arrest on camera

The vehicle snarl Scheffler was trying to avoid was the result of an awful and fatal accident between a vendor at the PGA Championship and a bus. It had occurred an hour beforehand and was tragic.    

“It was just a huge misunderstanding this morning,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler’s attorney later said, “He (Scheffler) held his credential out and was going in (to the entrance of the club) like they’d been instructed to.”

However, other reports say that the officer stuck his arm in Scheffler’s car, grabbed his arm, and apparently opened the door.  So that may have been what entangled him with the car.

Once Scottie Scheffler realized the officer was grabbing him and the car, he stopped. 

The officer opened the door, cuffed Scheffler and took him downtown.  

Jimmy Kirchdorfer Jr., chairman of the event, went to get Scheffler and brought him back to the club so that he could make his tee time. All times had been moved later in the morning after the fatality. When he arrived at the club, Scheffler had just 56 minutes until he teed off.

While we don’t know exactly what happened, and may never know what really happened, Scheffler repeatedly called the whole situation a big misunderstanding between himself and the police on the scene. Regardless, he was charged with:

  • Second-degree assault of a police officer, which is a felony.
  • Third-degree criminal mischief.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.     

And ESPN reporter, Jeff Darlington, happened to see the entire thing unfold.

“I was never angry. I was just in shock, and I think my body was just -- I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour,” Scheffler said in a press conference after his round.

He said he could not talk about the incident but would discuss his round.

“Coming out here and trying to play today was definitely a challenge, but I did my best to control my mind, control my breathing,” he explained. “Basically just calm down so I could come out here and try and play golf. I knew there was going to be a lot of distractions, but I didn't really know what the reception would be like.”

The reception was all over the place.

Golf fans greeted him with cheers and applause. Some had already made “Free Scottie” T-shirts.

“To be honest with you, it was great having the fans behind me. They cheered for me really loud. I felt like they were really glad to have me out competing today,” he said during the press conference.  “My team, I leaned on them pretty heavily this morning to get me into the right frame of mind to where I could go out and play.”

His team includes his parents, his coach Randy Smith, Blake Smith, his manager, and caddie Ted Scott. 

Scheffler acknowledged the accident victim at the beginning and end of the press conference, and, really, he had nothing to do with that, but he was caught up in the aftermath.

Golfers took to Twitter (X):

Next. A PGA with underlying tensions. A PGA Championship with underlying tensions. light

And there were many others as well. The day began with a death. It was, without a doubt, the saddest occurrence at a major since spectators were killed by lightning at the 1991 PGA tournament.

Scheffler said he was confident his issues will be resolved.

Of course for the family that lost a loved one, life will never be the same.