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'Shaking for an hour': World No.1 in contention for PGA Champs despite being taken to jail, Aussies in the hunt

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17th May, 2024
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Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was still in contention to win the US PGA Championship, shooting a round of 66 just hours after being arrested and charged by Louisville police.

The world No.1 was arrested on Friday morning on his way to the course, with stunning images showing him handcuffed as he was taken to jail for not following police orders during a pedestrian fatality investigation.

Louisville Metro Police Department said Scheffler was booked on four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer after his vehicle dragged an officer to the ground and injured him.

Scheffler was also booked on charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

In a span of four hours, Scheffler was arrested wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt, dressed in an orange jail shirt for his mug shot, returned to Valhalla Golf Club in golf clothes and made his 10:08 am second-round tee time.

After putting out a statement that the incident was a “big misunderstanding”, Scheffler, who later said he been shocked and confused by the arrest, then went on to shoot his five-under par round amid cheers and support from the galleries.

“It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding. I can’t get into what transpired, outside of my heart goes out to the family,” Scheffler said post-round, offering his sympathy to the family of a tournament vendor John Mills, the pedestrian who had died in the accident.

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“I can’t imagine what they’re going through this morning.”

Police said the pedestrian had been struck by a bus while crossing the road in a lane that was dedicated to tournament traffic. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 5:09am.

ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington witnessed the incident and said Scheffler, who was to start the second round at 8:48am, drove past a police officer a little after 6am in his SUV with markings on the door indicating it was a PGA Championship vehicle.

Scottie Scheffler with fans wearing Scottie Scheffler t-shirts as he walks off the ninth green during the second round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 17, 2024 in Louisville. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The officer screamed at him to stop and then grabbed onto the car until Scheffler stopped about 10 yards later, Darlington said.

The officer, identified in the arrest report as Detective Gillis, was dragged “to the ground” and suffered “pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist” after the car “accelerated forward,” according to Louisville police.

Scheffler was booked at 7:28am — about two-and-a-half hours before his updated tee time after the second round was delayed because of the fatality.

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The officer was dressed in a high visibility reflective jacket when he stopped Scheffler’s car to give instructions, the arrest sheet said. Detective Gillis was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

Darlington said police pulled Scheffler out of the car, pushed him up against the car and immediately placed him in handcuffs.

“Scheffler was then walked over to the police car, placed in the back, in handcuffs, very stunned about what was happening, looked toward me as he was in those handcuffs and said, ‘Please help me,'” Darlington said.

“He very clearly did not know what was happening in the situation. It moved very quickly, very rapidly, very aggressively.”

Scheffler said later, “I was pretty rattled to say the least. The officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great. We had a nice chat in the car, that kind of helped calm me down.

“I was never angry. I was shaking for like an hour, I would say in shock and in fear. Coming out here and trying to play today was definitely a challenge, but I did my best to control my mind, control my breathing.

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“When I was sitting in like the holding cell or whatever, there was a TV there and I could see myself on ESPN.

“The officers downstairs, they were discussing how long it was going to take me to get released.”

The 27-year-old is nine-under heading into the weekend, three shots behind Xander Schauffele, who backed up his course-record nine-under with a solid three-under in his second round.

Former champion Collin Morikawa is one shot back at 11-under after carding a six-under for the day.

Tigers Woods had a terrible day, finishing six-over to miss the cut.

After finishing one-over at the end of his first round, the 15-time major winner’s hopes nose-dived after two triple-bogeys inside his opening four holes to start his second round.

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In his last 22 starts in majors, he has missed the cut 10 times and withdrawn twice.

Despite his lean patch since returning from another injury, Woods was optimistic his form would return in time.

“It will — in time,” Woods said. “I need to play more. Unfortunately, I just haven’t played a whole lot of tournaments, and not a whole lot of tournaments on my schedule either. Hopefully, everything will somehow come together in my practice sessions at home and be ready for Pinehurst.”

Aussies in the mix

Magical Min Woo Lee and Jason Day have made big moves to revive Australian hopes at the drama-charged PGA Championship in Kentucky.

Three brilliant chip-ins helped Lee to a five-under-par 66 that sent the Perth prodigy rocketing up the leaderboard during the second round at Valhalla.

He joined Day, who had a five-birdie 67, at four under for the championship to be trailing American clubhouse leader Collin Morikawa by seven shots and with a fighting chance of a weekend charge to the Wanamaker Trophy.

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After starting the day at over par, in 85th spot and in danger of missing the halfway cut, Lee birdied his first and third holes before igniting his round with his first hole-out from off the green on the par-4 16th.

He also chipped in on the second and seventh holes after starting on the back nine.

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“It was just one of those days where it kind of went my way. Yeah, they just dropped,” Lee said.

“That definitely helped the scorecard. But a bit more solid than yesterday. Yesterday I just had a few missed iron shots, and today it was trending in the right direction.

“Yeah, the chip-ins were nice, obviously, and those were three birdies, so yeah, it was most of the score – 16 was pretty special.

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“It was in deep rough into the grain and I was just trying to get it on the green close, and it ended up going in.”

Champion in 2015 and runner-up in 2016, Day also gave himself an outside chance of contending on Sunday with a solid round containing just one bogey.

Lee and Day were the leading Australians in a tie for 24th after the morning wave signed off.

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