After Arrest, Scheffler Shows Superhuman Focus With 66
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After Arrest, Scheffler Shows Superhuman Focus With 66

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After Arrest, Scheffler Shows Superhuman Focus With 66

In the past five weeks, Scottie Scheffler has donned a green jacket for winning the Masters, a plaid jacket for winning the RBC Heritage and an orange jumpsuit for getting arrested prior to the second round of the PGA Championship.

To call Friday morning’s events bizarre would not do it justice. It’s possibly the strangest incident we’ve ever seen prior to a golf tournament.

And despite it all, Scheffler compartmentalized like a champion, shooting a 5-under 66 just hours after an arrest that shook the sports world and sent Twitter ablaze with memes.

There is still confusion over exactly what happened outside Valhalla Golf Club in the early morning rain and darkness. We know that, tragically, a man was struck by a shuttle bus and pronounced dead on the scene around 5 a.m. Traffic around the course became chaotic and congested as emergency responders tried to reach the victim. The PGA of America announced in a statement that the man, John Mills, was a worker with an on-site vendor at the tournament.

About an hour later, Scheffler was attempting to get to the course in preparation for his early morning tee time. According to a report released by the Louisville Metro Police Department, detective Bryan Gillis was directing traffic when Scheffler pulled around stopped traffic. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, who happened to witness the incident, reported that the stopped traffic included a parked bus that didn’t have a driver.

The police report indicated that Gillis stopped Scheffler’s SUV and attempted to give instructions. Darlington reported that Gillis “attached himself to the car” as Scheffler continued to drive.

“The subject refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” the police report said. Gillis suffered “pain, swelling and abrasions” to his left wrist and knee, the report said.

Gillis was transported to a hospital by emergency medical personnel for evaluation. The report said his uniform pants, valued at $80, were also damaged beyond repair.

Darlington reported that after about 20 to 30 seconds, Scheffler rolled down his window to talk to the officer. The officer grabbed Scheffler’s arm to pull him out of the vehicle, according to Darlington. The officer reached inside the vehicle to open the door, and once Scheffler was pulled out, he was pushed against the car and placed in handcuffs.

Darlington was standing at the entrance when Scheffler was detained. Darlington said Scheffler turned to him and asked, “Can you help?”

According to Darlington, an officer instructed him to back away.

Scheffler 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. The assault charge is a felony; the others are misdemeanors. An arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET.

Scheffler was released at 8:40 a.m. ET Friday without bail and arrived at Valhalla less than an hour before he was scheduled to tee off. Tee times had been delayed more than an hour due to traffic, and Scheffler didn’t tee off until 10:10 a.m. because of the delay.

Several local defense attorneys noted that it was an unusual circumstance for Scheffler to be charged with a felony and then let go so quickly after being charged.

“It’s odd to charge someone with a felony, make them change into jumpsuit, take a mugshot then let him go,” a Louisville defense attorney told Barstool’s Dan Rapaport.

Upon arriving at the course, Scheffler released a statement.

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers. 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.”

Remarkably, Scheffler found a way to do just that.

Starting on the back nine—and with the Louisville crowd showing boisterous support—Scheffler made birdies on two of his first three holes and played characteristically steady golf with little stress. Birdies at Nos. 18, 2, 4 and 7 got him to within two strokes of leader Collin Morikawa at the time Scheffler’s round concluded. The 5-under 66 put Scheffler in a tie for third at the time.

Despite the bizarre circumstances, only one player beat Scheffler in the morning wave on Friday.

He visited with the media after the round but said he could not take certain questions about the incident. Scheffler gave an opening statement where he reiterated that it was a misunderstanding that would get “resolved fairly quickly”.

“I feel like my head is still spinning,” Scheffler said when asked to recap his day. “I can’t really explain what happened this morning. I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell. That was a first for me. You know, that was part of my warmup. I was just sitting there waiting and started going through my warmup. I felt like there was a chance I could still come out here and play.”

Scheffler, who is known for having an unflappable personality, opened up about how shook up he was by the incident.

“I was pretty rattled to say the least. The officer who took me to the jail was very kind, he was great. We had a nice chat in the car that kind of calmed me down. I was sitting there waiting to go in (to the jail) and I asked him, ‘Hey, excuse me, can you just come hang out with me for a few minutes so I can calm down?’ I was never angry, I was just in shock and my body was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour and it was definitely a new feeling for me.”

Scheffler said the officers inside the jail were cracking jokes after realizing what had happened. One of them offered Scheffler a sandwich, which he accepted.

Scheffler was able to watch ESPN in the holding cell—he saw himself on TV—and realized there was a delay that could allow him to get back for his tee time. When he was picked up by his manager and two gentlemen from Valhalla Golf Club, it became apparent he could get back.

And then to go through all of that and shoot 66? Where does that rank among his best rounds?

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I definitely never imagined going to jail. And I definitely never imagined going to jail the morning before one of my tee times. I was grateful to go out there and compete.”

What can stop Scheffler? If this can’t, maybe nothing can.

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Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean is a longtime golf journalist and underachieving 8 handicap who enjoys the game in all forms. If he didn't have an official career writing about golf, Sean would spend most of his free time writing about it anyway. When he isn't playing golf, you can find Sean watching his beloved Florida Panthers hockey team, traveling to a national park or listening to music on his record player. He lives in Nashville with his wife and dog (of course the dog's name is Hogan).

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm





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      Jonathan

      3 weeks ago

      The worst part is certainly the tragedy that occurred. A VERY distant second, but still significant to the history of this sport, is that this may have kept us from the first ever modern Grand Slam. It’s when he had to talk to his lawyer the morning before his third round about the real legal possibilities that could follow that screwed him up – first round over par in like a year. If he shoots just the average of his other scores that round, he’s right there at -20/-21 with the leaders. A decent-putting Scottie Scheffler has the best chance of anyone ever to accomplish that feat (and he’s been putting better than decent and winning comfortably). It’s just an absurd shame.

      Reply

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