Scottie Scheffler responds after being arrested at PGA Championship: ‘A big misunderstanding'

Scottie Scheffler responds after being arrested at PGA Championship: ‘A big misunderstanding'

Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion and the top-ranked golfer in the world, was arrested by Louisville police on Friday morning as he tried to enter the site of this week's PGA Championship.

Scheffler, 27, was reportedly trying to drive around the scene of a fatal accident at Louisville's Valhalla Golf Club on May 17 when he was stopped by police, according to NBC affiliate WAVE.

He was trying to avoid the crash, which involved a shuttle bus striking a pedestrian earlier that morning, by driving around it on the median before police asked him to stop, according to an incident report issued by the Louisville Metro Police Department obtained by NBC News.

The arrest occurred after Det. Bryan Gillis stopped Scheffler and attempted to give directions, but Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” according to the incident report.

The golfer stopped his car as he turned into the entrance of the Valhalla Golf Club, ESPN reported, and when Scheffler rolled down the window to speak with the officer, he reached inside to open the door, pulled Scheffler out of his vehicle and handcuffed him at 6:01 a.m. ET.

Gillis suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee, according to the report. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment, and his uniform pants valued at $80 were "damaged beyond repair," the report said.

Scheffler was booked at 7:28 a.m. ET at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections on second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic, according to WAVE.

The star golfer released a statement later Friday morning that was posted on X by the PGA Tour.

"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," he continued. "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."

Steve Romines, a local Louisville attorney hired by Scheffler, said in an interview on ESPN2 on May 17 that the second-degree assault is a felony charge and the other three are misdemeanors.

"Apparently there had been a traffic accident or maybe even a fatality down the road, and that had changed the traffic patterns, and (Scheffler) was unaware of that," Romines said. "I think the officer that was directly traffic was maybe not part of the event traffic detail, and so that's where the miscommunication arose."

Scheffler was released by police at 8:40 a.m. ET and headed back to Valhalla Golf Club.

He proceeded with playing the second round, walking up to the course's 10th tee to start his round to chants of "Scottie! Scottie!" from fans. Scheffler also received a loud ovation when he was announced after playing partners Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman. He then teed off his second round at 10:10 a.m. ET.

“I feel like my head’s still spinning. I can’t really explain what happened this morning,” Scheffler said during a press conference after playing Friday. “I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell, that was a first for me.”

NBC News has reached out to Louisville police and has not immediately heard back yet.

“We’ll just litigate the case as it comes, and Scottie will cooperate fully,” Romines said. “We’ll just deal with (the case) as it progresses.”

The incident occurred ahead of the second round of the PGA Championship, which was scheduled to start play at 8:35 a.m. ET. on Friday. The round was originally scheduled to start at 7:15 a.m. ET but was delayed due to the fatal crash.

Scheffler is tied for 12th place at 4-under par heading into the second round, five shots behind first-round leader Xander Schauffele.

Scheffler won the prestigious Masters Tournament in April, earning his second green jacket at the golf major and becoming the fourth-youngest golfer to ever win the tournament twice. He had won three of his last four tournaments entering the PGA Championship.

He took home the title at the same time his wife, Meredith, was in the final weeks of her pregnancy.

Scheffler shared on Instagram on May 13 that the couple had welcomed their first child, a baby boy.

"Welcome to the world little one. Your mom & dad love you so much," he wrote.

The joyous post came just two days before Scheffler teed off for the first round of the PGA Championship.

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