World's ace golfer Scottie Scheffler arrested, jailed, and released in time to tee off

A tragic death and the top golfer's arrest marked one of the most bizzare days in major golf history.

Pop Culture & Art May 18, 2024

Masters champion, Scottie Scheffler, was arrested on Friday morning en route to the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Video circulated on social media shows him handcuffed and taken to jail for not complying with police orders during an investigation of a pedestrian fatality.

In the span of four hours, the world's top-ranked golfer was arrested in gym shorts and a T-shirt, photographed in an orange jail shirt, kept limber by stretching in a jail cell, and then returned to Valhalla Golf Club dressed for his 10:08 a.m. tee off.

The incident began when police informed a line of cars outside the golf club that a pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing a road designated for tournament traffic. 

The victim, John Mills, 69, was working for a PGA Championship vendor and was declared dead at the scene at 5:09 a.m.

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington witnessed the event, noting that Scheffler, scheduled to start his second round at 8:48 a.m., drove past a police officer in a PGA Championship-marked SUV a little after 6 a.m. 

The officer yelled for him to stop and grabbed onto the car, which stopped about 10 yards later. Scheffler was then pulled from the vehicle, pushed against it, and handcuffed.

The Louisville Metro Police Department charged Scheffler with four offenses, including second-degree assault of a police officer after his vehicle allegedly dragged an officer. 

Scheffler was booked at 7:28 a.m., roughly 2 1/2 hours before his adjusted tee time due to a delay from the fatality. He faced additional charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and ignoring traffic signals from an officer.

From a TV in jail, Scheffler saw that tee times were delayed by 1 hour and 20 minutes due to the traffic situation. When an officer told him, “Let’s go,” he realized he could still play. He was released at 9:12 a.m., returned to the course by 9:30 a.m., and was greeted by fans, some of whom wore “Free Scottie” T-shirts.

Darlington reported that police initially did not recognize Scheffler and when Darlington identified himself to the media, an officer informed him that Scheffler was going to jail.

Scheffler said he only told police, “I’m sorry, I’m just trying to get to my tee time,” and the incident was a “big misunderstanding amid a chaotic situation.”

Louisville police have been under national scrutiny following the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor and a federal investigation into their policing practices. A Department of Justice report released last year criticized the police for excessive force and conducting searches based on invalid warrants. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed by officers serving a warrant that federal officials later deemed falsified.

The PGA of America extended sympathies to Mills' family and stated that they are fully cooperating with local authorities regarding the incident involving Scheffler.


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