Scottie Scheffler wanted ‘2 separate lives.’ His PGA week made that impossible

Scottie Scheffler's PGA Championship didn't go how anybody expected.

Scottie Scheffler's PGA Championship didn't go how anybody expected.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Scottie Scheffler arrived on property at Valhalla Golf Club on Monday, a simple question arrived with him: As a new father, was he tired?

Six days later, after his final round on Sunday, he met with the media. The last question of that session: Would he be required to appear in-person for Tuesday’s arraignment?

What a long, strange week it had been.


Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis reported that the Schefflers had welcomed their son Bennett to the world the previous week. With the happy and healthy mother-son duo back in Dallas, Scottie arrived at Valhalla on a legendary heater, with four wins (plus one runner-up finish) in his last five starts. Could he keep it going? Could he claim the second leg of the Grand Slam?


When Scheffler met with the media he said something interesting. (I’ve found this to be increasingly common with Scheffler. I’m not sure if that means the answers have gotten better or if the questions have. Either way, good stuff.) Asked about fatherhood and balance, Scheffler revealed one way in which this line of personal questioning had him somewhat on edge.

“I try to do my best to keep my personal life out of kind of the public eye,” he said. “I think that’s something that my wife and I — we like having almost two separate lives. I have my life out here in public where I’m out competing and playing in front of fans, then we have our life at home where we really just want to go home and hang out with our friends and go out to dinner and just be kind of regular old normal people and live our lives because that’s really who we are, I feel like.”

That phrase “two separate lives” stuck with me. Not because it’s wrong or unrealistic; it’s probably the goal of most public figures. There’s your public life and your “real” life. But with time and with success and with fame that all becomes tougher to control. And with kids everything becomes tougher to control.

“It’s kind of a tough balance because it’s such an exciting time that I want to be able to share it with everybody, but there’s also the balance of wanting to keep our private life private and at home,” Scheffler continued. “I think that’s something that I’ll learn, as well, is kind of striking a balance between being able to share the joy of being a parent with everybody while also keeping our kids’ lives as private as possible.”


Scheffler played the back nine with fellow Tour dad Max Homa, whose son Cam was born in 2022. They were joined by club pro Jeremy Wells, who went from “12 people watching and I know them all” to a distinctly different experience.

“It was the real deal,” Wells said the next day, crediting the practice round for preparing him for Thursday. “To have that experience, to be so heightened and so nervous in a practice round, and I hit it fine. I survived. So thanks to those guys. They were super welcoming and kind, and I think that was a big deal for me.”


Scheffler’s first hole as a father came on Thursday afternoon and he played it in the most preposterous way possible, sending driver down the fairway and hooping his second shot, a 9-iron from 167 yards. Bounce, spin, drop. Eagle.

All things considered it was a relatively normal round after that; Scheffler made four birdies and two bogeys en route to four-under 67. That left him well behind Xander Schauffele’s nine-under 62, but no worries. He was right in the hunt. Any fears of baby-related rust could be put to bed. Scheffler was ready for bed, too.

“I’m just going to go hit a few balls, hit a couple putts and try to get to sleep as quickly as I can tonight,” he said. “I felt like there was a couple things I can clean up going into tomorrow, but overall today was a solid round.”


There’s no point in using this space to run through another full recap of Friday’s surreal events; you’ve likely already committed them to memory, and if not then you can read about them here. The crash. The incident. The surreal video of Scheffler in handcuffs. The mugshot. The charges. The rush to his tee time. The fact that he nearly holed out for eagle on his first hole for the second consecutive day. And the way he responded with a five-under 66 to place himself squarely in the middle of the tournament.

Apart from the obvious, two things stood out to me about the day.

The first was the sheer randomness of it all. He said later that as he was sitting in the back of the police car he realized that neither of the officers with him knew who he was, which means his involvement in the incident was completely random. Of all the golfers in the field, this happened to the World No. 1? The guy playing so well he’s drawing Tiger Woods comparisons? That was really, deeply strange.

The second was the way Scheffler handled himself in his post-round press conference. He didn’t get into the details of the encounter itself but was insightful on plenty else: How it felt for his hands to shake, his heart to race, his agency to be suddenly and completely taken away. He expressed his gratitude to the police officers who’d helped him. He expressed his belief that the whole thing had been a misunderstanding. And he expressed his condolences for the family of the man who’d lost his life that morning.

It was counterintuitive but Scheffler’s vulnerability made him seem that much more invincible. If he could handle this with such poise — and shoot 66 in the process — what in the world could possibly throw him off? But that ignored the realities of adrenaline and time. When Scheffler arrived back at his rental it hit him that something was off.

“Friday most of the day I didn’t really even eat,” he said later, reflecting. “I came [to the course] and had a couple bites of some eggs and a piece of bacon and went out and played. We were sitting at home, and I realized that I hadn’t even eaten dinner yet and it was almost 9 o’clock at night, and I wasn’t hungry. As somebody who’s a pretty big eater, that was a strange feeling, so obviously my body was a bit off with what had happened in the morning.”

Scottie Scheffler on Friday at the PGA Championship.
The full story of Scottie Scheffler’s shocking arrest: How tragedy, chaos struck at PGA
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Saturday was always going to be a different sort of day for Scheffler; all year his caddie Ted Scott had May 18 circled as a day he’d fly home to be at his daughter’s high school graduation. Scott has become an integral and valued member of Scheffler’s team, but on a typical weekend his one-day departure may not have made a massive difference, given PGA Tour chaplain and former college golfer Brad Payne was willing to take over. On this particular weekend, though, he’d been leaning especially hard on his team, and it was tough to change an additional variable. Scheffler talked about how much he was leaning on his team. On Saturday he never felt quite right.

“Probably Saturday morning I think it finally hit me what really happened,” he said. He was intentional post-round about not making excuses; in golf your score is your score and he’d posted two-over 73, his first over-par round of 2024, high enough to play his way out of contention. But it would be tough to ignore the connection between his worst round of the year and the strangest day of his career.

“I think I would attribute it mostly to a bad day,” he said on Sunday, looking back. “Did I feel like myself? Absolutely not. Was my warm-up the way it usually is and the distractions were they normally are? Absolutely not. But I’m not going to sit here and say that’s why I went out and played a bad round of golf yesterday.”

We can say it instead.


Scheffler’s final round began with a missed six-foot par putt at No. 1. It continued with a missed six-foot birdie putt at No. 2. Another good birdie chance went wide at No. 4. But then Scheffler turned back into the player we’ve seen dominate all season long; he birdied 5 and 8 and 10, then 12 and 13, then 15 and 16. In all it added up to a six-under 65, the fourth-lowest round of the day. He’d surged into T8, securing perhaps his unlikeliest top 10 yet.

After his round, Amanda Balionis asked him on CBS if he felt like himself.

“Not quite,” Scheffler said. The week had taken a toll. “I think I’m just fairly tired and ready to get home.”

On the course, he said, he was proud of his toughness. He has high standards; the only praise he’d give a T8 was “at least a little bit decent.” And he voiced his appreciation several different times for the support he’d received from fans, players, caddies and tournament employees. But it was clear that he hadn’t loved being thrust into the public eye in this particular way. The sanctity of those two separate lives had been temporarily violated; for the weekend he’d become a national news story and a main character of the internet. That’s never Scheffler’s goal.

“I love competing, I love trying to get the most out of my game out here, and I typically try to keep the off-course life as quiet as possible,” he said. “And this week obviously was not that way, so was a bit different in that sense.”

“Different” was putting it mildly.

The question at the beginning of the week was how Scheffler would handle exhaustion. By week’s end an entirely new brand had arrived.

“At the moment, you know, I put my head down on the scorer’s table and I think I about fell asleep, so I’m just kind of just wondering what time bedtime is,” Scheffler concluded. “I’m trying to figure out how quickly I can get home from here and, yeah, that’s pretty much it. I think I’m just fairly tired and ready to get home.”

Back to his real life after a week far, far away.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

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