Police: Officer dragged trying to stop Scottie Scheffler's car; PGA golfer released following arrest

Start of 2nd round delayed after shuttle bus hits, kills pedestrian

ByMark Schlabach, ESPN Senior Writer ESPN logo
Friday, May 17, 2024
Scottie Scheffler arrested before start of PGA Championship
Golfer Scottie Scheffler was detained by police in handcuffs after he tried to drive past a police officer into Valhalla Golf Club.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The police officer who attempted to stop world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler from entering Valhalla Golf Club on Friday morning was dragged to the ground and suffered "pain, swelling and abrasions" to his left wrist and knee after Scheffler's car accelerated, according to an incident report released by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, said the officer, identified as Det. Gillis, was directing traffic at Shelbyville Road, near Gate 1 of Valhalla Golf Club, the site of this week's PGA Championship. Traffic outside the golf course had been stopped after a man was struck and killed by a shuttle bus around 5 a.m. ET.

The report said Gillis was standing in the middle of the westbound lanes when Scheffler's SUV pulled into the lanes to avoid backed-up traffic. The report said Gillis was wearing a full police uniform and a "high-visibility yellow reflective rain jacket."

Gillis stopped Scheffler's SUV and attempted to give instructions, according to the report.

"The subject refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground," the report said.

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

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 morning at 9 a.m. ET.

Golfers at Knights Play Golf Center in Apex were concerned about how the arrest would impact his game.

"Maj. Jason Logsdon of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections told ESPN that Scheffler was released at 8:40 a.m. ET Friday without bail. He arrived at Valhalla less than an hour before he was scheduled to tee off at 10:08 a.m. ET.

"This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers," Scheffler said in a statement. "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.

"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."

According to ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, who witnessed the incident, Scheffler was trying to drive around the crash scene. At one point, according to Darlington, Gillis attached himself to the side of Scheffler's car. Scheffler stopped his car as he turned into the entrance of Valhalla Golf Club.

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's attorney, Steven Romines, told ESPN that the golfer attempted to enter Valhalla Golf Club as he had been instructed to earlier, unaware there had been a fatal wreck just up the road.

In this still image made from video provided by ESPN, Masters champion Scottie Scheffler is escorted by police after being handcuffed near Valhalla Golf Club.
In this still image made from video provided by ESPN, Masters champion Scottie Scheffler is escorted by police after being handcuffed near Valhalla Golf Club.

"He was going into Valhalla to work out," Romines said. "He was getting ready for his tee time. They were directing traffic. He held his credential out and was going in like they'd been instructed to. Apparently, there had been a traffic accident, maybe even a fatality, down the road, and that had changed the traffic patterns, and he was unaware of that."

Romines, speaking outside the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, said the officer who attempted to stop Scheffler wasn't part of the regular event-traffic detail at Valhalla Golf Club, "so that's where the miscommunication arose."

"They are allowed to go through, that's why they have the credential and the wave-through," Romines said. "He was unaware there had been a wreck, and he proceeded like they'd been instructed to. He did exactly as he was instructed to enter the premises."

Romines said Scheffler would cooperate fully with police, and "we'll deal with it as it progresses."

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