Why was Scottie Scheffler arrested? Here’s what police say happened

Scottie Scheffler arrives to the course during the second round of PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 17, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Scottie Scheffler arriving at Valhalla in the wake of his Friday morning arrest.

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There are two sides to every story, and it could be weeks or even months before we know exactly what happened outside the gates of Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Ky., just after 6 a.m. Friday.

We may never know. Not exactly, anyway.

This much, though, is not in dispute: Scottie Scheffler, the planet’s best male golfer, who at the PGA Championship this week is in hot pursuit of his fifth win in six starts and second consecutive major title, was stuck in a snarl of traffic as he drove his marked, Lexus courtesy vehicle eastbound toward the course. It was raining and still dark, and vehicles were backed up for roughly a mile in both directions on the primary access road in and out of the property, a result of a pedestrian fatality investigation. Roughly an hour earlier a tournament worker had been struck and killed by a shuttle bus as he tried to cross the road.  

Scheffler was alone in his vehicle. He was wearing a pale-blue polo shirt, gym shorts and sneakers. As he neared the club entrance, dozens of police cars were in the vicinity, lights flashing. “A very chaotic situation,” Scheffler would later say in a statement. Detective Bryan Gillis of the Louisville Metro Police was directing tournament traffic into Gate 1. (Gillis joined the Louisville PD in 2008 after a three-year stint at the New Orleans Police Department and soon after he’d become a father to twin sons. When he was sworn in, Gillis told the Courier-Journal, “I needed a place I could work that was safe.”)

What happened next on Shelbyville Road gets murkier, but here, according to the police report, is what Gillis said unfolded. Scheffler, in an attempt to bypass the traffic, pulled into the westbound lane, where Gillis was stationed “in full LMPD uniform and a hi-visibility yellow reflective rain jacket.”

Gillis said he stopped Scheffler and attempted to give him instructions, but that Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging [him] to the ground.” Later in the morning, after Scheffler had been arrested, booked and returned to Valhalla to play his second round, he said in a statement that he had been “proceeding as directed by police officers.” He added: “There was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do. I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.”

According to the report, Gillis “suffered pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knee. He was transported to the hospital for further medical treatment by emergency medical personnel. Detective Gillis’ uniform pants, valued at approximately $80, were damaged beyond repair.”

Among the many unanswered questions is how exactly Gillis was dragged to the ground by the car and when Scheffler became aware that the officer was “attached” to the vehicle. That’s the word that ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, who was on the scene, used to describe what he had witnessed. Darlington said Scheffler drove about 10 yards before pulling over by the club entrance. When Scheffler rolled down his window to talk to Gillis, Darlington said the officer grabbed Scheffler’s arm and pulled him out of the vehicle. Gillis pushed Scheffler against the car and handcuffed him, Darlington said.

ESPN shared this image allegedly showing Scottie Scheffler detained by police Friday morning at Valhalla at 2024 PGA Championship.
Scottie Scheffler arrested at PGA Championship at Valhalla: Here’s what we know
By: Jack Hirsh

Scheffler was taken to the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, which is a felony; third-degree criminal mischief; reckless driving; and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic. Scheffler was released at 8:40 a.m. He arrived back at the course about an hour before his 10:08 starting time.  

Scheffler’s attorney, Steven Romines, told ESPN that before Scheffler’s run-in with Gillis, Scheffler was unaware of the pedestrian death. “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.”

Romines said “the miscommunication arose” because Gillis isn’t part of the regular event-traffic detail. “They are allowed to go through, that’s why they have the credential and the wave-through,” Romines said. “He [Scheffler] 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.”

Scheffler’s arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m., according to court records.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.

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