Scottie Scheffler arrest: Golfer admits he was ‘shaking with fear,’ yet gracefully thanked arresting officers for their service in surreal press conference

LOUISVILLE — Scottie Scheffler relayed what happened with a poise that belied what he endured. Hours before, Scheffler said he could not stop shaking. He was confused, worried, scared. He believed he might have been in shock. And yet Scheffler went out of his way to thank the men that arrested him for their service.

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Scheffler, despite an early-morning arrest that included spending time in a holding cell, authored a five-under 66 at Valhalla on Friday in the PGA Championship to stay in deep contention for the Wanamaker Trophy, then ended one of the most chaotic days in recent golf memory with a masterclass of grace.

Following his second-round performance, Scheffler did his best to explain the seemingly unexplainable in how the World No. 1 was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic when trying to turn into the golf course. The incident occurred an hour after a pedestrian was struck and killed outside the Valhalla entrance.

“My situation will get handled. It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding,” Scheffler explained. “I can’t comment on any of the specifics of it, so I feel like y’all are going to be disappointed … but my situation will be handled. It was just a big misunderstanding. If you’ve got any questions about the golf today, I’m happy to answer that, but outside of that, I can’t get into what transpired, outside of my heart goes out to the family.”

According to Louisville Metro Police booking documents, an officer claimed he was “dragged” by Scheffler’s car, and when Scheffler eventually stopped, he got out of the car and was handcuffed and arrested. In a statement, Scheffler’s lawyer disputed the nature of the incident.

“[Scheffler] was proceeding as directed by another traffic officer and driving a marked player’s vehicle with credentials visible,” said attorney Steve Romines. “In the confusion, Scottie is alleged to have disregarded a different officer’s traffic signals resulting in these charges. Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that he did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed. He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle. We will litigate this matter as needed and he will be completely exonerated.”

Scheffler said his head was “still spinning” and he remained “rattled” late Friday afternoon. Multiple times he told the media he was shaking in fear. While Scheffler did not discuss the actions of the officer who arrested him, he commended the individual who ultimately took him from the property and credited him for helping eventually get calm.

“The officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great,” Scheffler said. “We had a nice chat in the car, that kind of helped calm me down. I was sitting there waiting to kind of go in and I asked him, I was like, 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 … I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me. He came out and we had a nice chat and then the officers inside the jail were tremendous.”

Scheffler said once he reached jail a few officers recognized who he was. While he was in a jail cell he said he saw himself on TV, as ESPN was covering the ordeal.

However, Scheffler admitted that he never told the arresting officers who he was during the process.

“It was very chaotic,” Scheffler said, “and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just trying to get to my tee time.’ Outside of that, things escalated from there. I did numerous apologies and whatever, but like I said, it was chaotic. It’s dark; it was raining, there’s a lot of stuff going on. They had just had an accident. I didn’t know what it happened at the time, other than there was an accident. I didn’t know that it was fatal. Like I said, my heart goes out to the family. But no, at no point did I try to name drop myself to defuse the situation. I just tried to remain as calm as possible and just follow instructions.”

Even when he was released, Scheffler felt discombobulated, as the ordeal had thrown off his usual regimen. The original accident pushed tee times back on Friday, which at least gave Scheffler the chance to still make his round. But he admitted it “took a few holes” to feel normal.

“It was kind of nice just to be out there inside the ropes competing,” Scheffler said. “It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do, so I was fortunate to be able to come out here and do it again today.”

That Scheffler went out and recorded six birdies to just one bogey was nothing short of absurd, and Friday’s round puts Scheffler square in the mix heading into PGA Championship weekend. Yet, it was Scheffler’s demeanor afterwards, eloquently attempting to downplay the situation without adding fuel to the flame, that was perhaps his best work of the day.

“Like I said, the officers at the jail were tremendous,” Scheffler said. “I’m very grateful for the people that serve all of us across the nation. As far as best rounds of my career, I would say it was pretty good. I definitely never imagined ever going to jail, and I definitely never imagined going to jail the morning before one of my tee times. … I was grateful to be able to go out there and compete, and yeah, it was definitely a nice round of golf. My heart goes out to the family. But outside of that, yeah, I’m glad to be out here competing, doing what I love.”

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