Scottie Scheffler: Charges against world number one golfer dropped after 'big misunderstanding' at PGA Championship

29 May 2024, 17:38 | Updated: 29 May 2024, 20:24

Criminal charges against Scottie Scheffler have been dismissed following the world number one golfer's arrest during the PGA Championship in the US earlier this month.

Scheffler, 27, was facing four charges, including assaulting a police officer with his vehicle, after an incident that took place just hours before he teed off on the second day at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell today asked a judge to drop the charges and said his team reviewed the case in a "thorough and expeditious manner".

In a hearing that lasted less than ten minutes, he said: "Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr Scheffler.

"Mr Scheffler's characterisation that this was 'a big misunderstanding' is corroborated by the evidence."

Scheffler was not required in the courtroom for the hearing but welcomed the decision in a post on his Instagram Story.

His arrest took place after an encounter with an officer who was redirecting traffic following a pedestrian death near the Valhalla Golf Club on 17 May.

Detective Bryan Gillis claimed Scheffler - who was driving a PGA courtesy vehicle - had "refused to comply" with a request to stop "and accelerated forward, dragging" him to the ground.

A surveillance video released by Louisville police last week showed the officer pursuing Scheffler's vehicle on foot. He then stopped him from entering the course, pulled him out of the car and handcuffed him.

The video did not show Mr Gillis' first contact with Scheffler, authorities said.

The detective has been disciplined for not activating his body-worn camera during the arrest.

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Prosecutor O'Connell told the judge today: "The evidence we reviewed supports the conclusion that Detective Gillis was concerned for public safety at the scene when he initiated contact with Mr Scheffler.

"However, Mr Scheffler's actions and the evidence surrounding their exchange during this misunderstanding do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offences."

Scheffler's attorney Steve Romines was asked if he wanted to comment. He replied: "Judge, it's taken me a long time to understand that when I'm winning, don't talk. So I have nothing to say, your honour."

The judge then accepted the dismissal motion.

'Miscommunication in a chaotic situation'

Scheffler has always maintained the incident was "a misunderstanding" and reiterated this in a social media post following the judge's decision.

He wrote on his Instagram Story: "As I stated previously, this was an unfortunate misunderstanding. I hold no ill will toward Officer Gillis.

"I wish to put this incident behind me and move on, and I hope he will do the same. Police officers have a difficult job and I hold them in high regard. This was a severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation."

The golfer also thanked fans for their support during the past two weeks and encouraged "everyone to remember the real tragedy of 17 May" before paying tribute to the pedestrian who lost their life.

"My thoughts and prayers continue to be with John Mills and his family, and I hope to personally offer my condolences now that the case is over," he wrote. "May John rest in peace."

Just hours after being booked by police and spending a brief period in a jail cell, Scheffler teed off his second round at Valhalla, where he was met with support from spectators who chanted his name.

Scheffler had been the favourite to win going into the tournament but finished in joint eighth place.