Scottie Scheffler says he was prepared to sue Louisville police before charges were dropped

DUBLIN, Ohio — Although admittedly hesitant to do so, Scottie Scheffler said Tuesday that his legal team was prepared to file a lawsuit against the city of Louisville and its police department after his arrest early on May 17 at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. That proved to be unnecessary when charges against the World No. 1 were dropped on May 29.

“That was something that if we needed to use it, I think Steve [Romines, his attorney] was more than ready to use that, just because there was a ton of evidence in our favor,” Scheffler said at the Memorial Tournament, the $20 million signature event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

“There were eyewitnesses on the scene that corroborated my story and the video evidence, the police officer talking to me after. All the evidence pointed to exactly what my side of the story was, and so if we needed to … if I had to show up in court, I think Steve was more than prepared to pursue legal action.

“I did not want to have to pursue legal action against Louisville because at the end of the day, the people of Louisville are then going to have to pay for the mistakes of their police department, and that just doesn’t seem right,” Scheffler added. “At no point did I ever want to sue them, but if it came there, I think my lawyer was more than prepared to use that as more of like a bargaining chip-type thing more than anything.”

Scheffler, 27, the reigning Masters champion, was arrested by Louisville police detective Bryan Gillis and faced several charges, including felony second-degree assault of a police officer, after being stopped by Gillis while trying to enter Valhalla to begin his preparations for the second round of the PGA. Gillis alleged that Scheffler failed to follow instructions, accelerated in his marked courtesy SUV, and dragged him to the ground, causing minor injuries. Traffic was chaotic around the entrance of Valhalla after a tournament volunteer was struck and killed by a shuttle bus.

After being finger-printed and having his mug shot taken (after having to change into orange prison garb) Scheffler was released from jail in time for his second-round tee time. He somehow carded a 5-under 66, but the Texan went on to finish T-8 after shooting his first over-par score of the year (73) in the third round that dropped him from contention.

Scheffler said that he learned on Friday, May 24, while competing in the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, that the charges were likely to be dropped. He said that Romines described the process using a golf analogy, going from, “like, a 1-foot putt to it’s on the lip, kind of thing, and then nothing is obviously official until it becomes really official,” he said. “But I think Friday afternoon it was pretty official in our mind. They just needed to meet with the judge to go over details.”

Still getting used to being a new father, especially the changing of diapers and burping his son Bennett, Scheffler said he feels ready for the upcoming three-week stretch of tournaments that begins with the Memorial before the U.S. Open at Pinehurst and another signature event immediately after that at the Travelers Championship. In fact, he said getting his mind right to compete hasn’t been an issue after the weird proceedings in Louisville. Business as usual. Except for taking some grief from his friends.

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