Scottie Scheffler arrested before start of PGA Championship after incident

Scottie Scheffler was arrested Friday morning on his way to the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, after failing to follow police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation, which he later called a "big misunderstanding." 

Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked player who was set to start the second round later in the morning, was put in handcuffs after a "misunderstanding with traffic flow led to his attempt to drive past a police officer into Valhalla Golf Club," ESPN’s Jeff Darlington wrote on X.

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

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

Here is what’s known about the Friday morning incident:

Scottie Scheffler arrested

A pedestrian trying to cross the road near the course was struck by a shuttle bus, Louisville police said, according to WDRB-TV. The victim, who was not identified, died at the scene. 

ESPN reported that Scheffler drove past a police officer at the scene in his SUV with markings on the door indicating it was a PGA Championship vehicle. 

Scheffler drove past an officer, who screamed at him to stop and then attached himself to the car until Scheffler stopped about 10 yards later, according to ESPN. 

ESPN's Darlington watched the scene unfold, reporting that 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."

ESPN shared footage of Scheffler handcuffed and walking toward a police car in the morning darkness.

scottie scheffler arrest mug shot photo

A booking photo of Scheffler was later shared by the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections. He was booked on four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer after his vehicle dragged an officer to the ground.

The PGA of America did not immediately have a comment.

The second round was delayed by 1 hour, 20 minutes, meaning Scheffler was not due to play until a little after 10 a.m.

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

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

Darlington said police were not sure who he 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's explanation of arrest


Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America via Getty Images)

After Scheffler was released, it didn't take long for him to return to Valhalla Golf Club in golf clothes and make his 10:08 a.m. second-round tee time after releasing his version of events.

"This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers," he said in a statement released as he was warming up on the range. "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 who passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything in perspective."

His attorney, Steve Romines in Louisville, also described it as a misunderstanding and told The Associated Press, "We will litigate the case as it goes."

Scheffler at PGA Tournament 2024

Scottie Scheffler of The United States plays his third shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 16, 2024, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler of The United States plays his third shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 16, 2024, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Scheffler is coming off four victories in his last five tournaments, including his second Masters title. 

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.

He was home in Dallas the last three weeks waiting for the birth of his first child, a son that was born on May 8.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.