PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler began warm-up in jail cell after 'chaotic' pre-round arrest at Valhalla

17 May 2024, 17:19 | Updated: 18 May 2024, 11:04

Scottie Scheffler admitted he was left "shaken" by a "chaotic situation" after being arrested and detained ahead of his second round at the PGA Championship.

Scheffler's participation was under threat after a "big misunderstanding" saw him arrested by Louisville Metro Police outside of Valhalla Golf Club on Friday morning, having attempted to drive into the golf club during heavy traffic caused by a fatal accident.

The world No 1 was detained for just over 70 minutes before being released by police and escorted back to the golf course, where he arrived less than an hour before his tee time - delayed by 80 minutes due to the accident - of 10.08am (3.08pm BST).

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Scheffler birdied his opening hole and impressed with a five-under to send him into the weekend on nine under, leaving him in prime position to challenge for back-to-back major titles and a fifth win in six starts.

"I feel like my head is still spinning," Scheffler told reporters after his round. "I can't really explain what happened this morning.

"I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell. That was a first for me. That was part of my warm-up. I was just sitting there waiting and I started going through my warmup, as I felt like there was a chance I may be able to still come out here and play.

"I started going through my routine and I tried to get my heart rate down as much as I could today, but like I said, I still feel like my head is spinning a little bit. But I was fortunate to be able to make it back out and play some golf today."

What happened to Scheffler?

Scheffler was arrested just after 6am local time by Louisville police and taken to the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections, with images quickly appearing on social media of him in his orange prison jumpsuit for his mugshot.

According to the police report, the detective stopped Scheffler's car and "attempted to give instruction", with the report adding that Scheffler "refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground."

Scheffler faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic, although was released around 8.40am local time and able to return to Valhalla.

The American released a statement on social media ahead of his second round, then told reporters afterwards: "My situation will get handled. It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding. I can't comment on any of the specifics of it, so I feel like y'all are going to be disappointed.

"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 just in shock, and I think my body was just - I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me.

"I was sitting there waiting to kind of go in and I asked him, 'hey, excuse me, can you just come hang out with me for a few minutes so I can calm down?'. He [officer] came out and we had a nice chat and then the officers inside the jail were tremendous.

"A couple of them made some jokes I think when they figured out who I was and what happened and how I ended up there."

How Scheffler stayed in major contention

Scheffler - starting on the back nine after a shortened warm-up - fired a wedge close to birdie the par-five 10th and responded to a missed par save from five feet at the next by draining a 25-footer at the 12th, then took advantage of the par-five 18th to reach the turn in 34.

The reigning Masters champion holed from six feet the second and added another from even closer at the fourth to temporarily get within one of the lead, before rolling in from 20 feet at the par-five seventh and negotiating his final two holes with pars.

"I didn't really feel like I would make my tee time until one of the officers at the jail came by my holding cell and knocked on the window and said 'let's go'," Scheffler explained.

"He said 'get ready' and motioned to start rolling up my mat. Then I poked my head at the TV and I was like, 'oh, might be able to get there', we'll see how bad the traffic is getting in and out.

"I didn't know what was going on out here. I didn't know how long the delay was. At the time I couldn't even remember what my original tee time was. I was just trying to do my best to stay calm.

"When they took me out and we got in the car on the way here, I figured it was ready to play and my manager asked me if I wanted to. I was like, of course. Then we just came here and got ready to go play.

"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 for sure! It was definitely a nice round of golf. My heart goes out to the family."

Chamblee: Scheffler's composure was 'astonishing'

Brandel Chamblee on Scheffler's day...

"Given the unimaginable chaos his day would have started with, his ability to reset, find composure, and de-escalate heightened emotions.

"He talked about in his post-round remarks how he was able to work down his heartrate and find that composure, find that focus, and get out there and play golf.

"It was nothing short of astonishing. From start to finish he was present which is hard to believe.

"We go back to his opening approach shot to his first hole, starting on the back nine. To dial that all in. Imagine, he said he was shaking, his heartrate trying to do all the things you have got to do to be present and control your nerves.

"As the day wore on you thought he would revert back to this morning but he was completely present.

"Just working through the technical aspects of his game, nothing surprised me, Towering tee shots, towering iron shots, accurate, drove it better than pretty much everyone in the field, iron pretty much better than anyone in the field, putted better than he did yesterday.

"The fact he was able to find that composure was absolutely astonishing."

McGinley: We could see the shock unfold on Saturday

Paul McGinley on Scheffler's day...

"His template of this game is so strong and he knows what he does inside out.

"He knows his feelings, he knows his fundamental, and he has rehearsed it so often.

"Combined with his team. He is not going to have Ted Scott on his shoulder tomorrow and that could be a factor.

"The fact that the template is so strong and the team know the template, it was almost like plugging in despite all the trauma that he obviously went through.

"It was like a compartmentalisation, back in to what he does, and the thoughts and process of all of it.

"I am not sure he is fully through all of it and it will be interesting to see how he reacts on Saturday because sometimes the shock comes 24 hours later.

"So let's just see tomorrow. It was a pretty traumatic today and being a man of strong Christian faith like he is, it will really hurt him, and he will have a lot of empathy for the man who passed away."

Can Scottie Scheffler add to his major tally at the PGA Championship? Watch throughout the week live on Sky Sports! Live coverage continues on Saturday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf.