US Open

Charges against Scottie Scheffler dropped in police incident during PGA Championship

Charges against Scottie Scheffler dropped in police incident during PGA Championship

Louisville officials have dropped all charges against Scottie Scheffler stemming from a traffic incident outside Valhalla Golf Club on May 17. The dismissal of charges brings to a close one of the strangest incidents in a bizarre era for men's golf.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell announced during a Wednesday afternoon hearing that all charges against Scheffler would be dropped. O'Connell indicated that the county agreed that Scheffler's version of events did not rise to the level of criminal conduct, and the charges were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled. The entire hearing lasted just six minutes.

"Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges against Mr. Scheffler. Mr. Scheffler's characterization that this was, quote, 'a big misunderstanding,' close quote, is corroborated by the evidence," O'Connell told the court. "The evidence we reviewed supports the conclusion that Det. [Bryan] 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 offenses."

Scheffler, the World No. 1 player, was on his way to Valhalla for an early morning tee time in the second round of the PGA Championship when he was stopped by police just outside the club's gates. Traffic had been halted around the club because of a fatal traffic accident involving a pedestrian roughly an hour before, and the pre-dawn scene was a chaotic blur of rain and flashing lights. Players were permitted to enter the club, and Scheffler attempted to do so even after being stopped by an officer.

Detective Gillis did not have his body cam turned on during the incident so close-up video of the interaction is unavailable. Gillis claimed that Scheffler dragged him along the pavement, causing injury to Gillis and damage to his pants. Scheffler claimed that he stopped when told to, and accepted his arrest without significant protest.

Video has emerged of Scheffler talking with an officer while in the backseat of a police car.

Scheffler was booked and held briefly in jail before being released in time to make his tee time at Valhalla. He played well coming straight from jail but struggled in Round 3 and fell out of contention. Xander Schauffele went on to win the PGA Championship, having led or co-led wire to wire.

Scheffler's arraignment was originally scheduled for the Tuesday after the tournament ended, but was postponed to June 3. Because Scheffler was charged with a felony, he would have needed to be present for any essential court proceeding, such as an arraignment.

Steve Romines, Scheffler's attorney, indicated after the dismissal that Scheffler will not be pursuing a civil lawsuit against the city of Louisville. He added that there was no "quid pro quo" between himself and the county to avoid any such lawsuits.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gillis released a statement saying there "will be no ill will over this going forward" between him and Scheffler. He also addressed the $80 pair of police pants that was mentioned in the police report.

Due to the dismissal, Scheffler is now free to leave this entire episode behind him. He lost out on the opportunity to win a grand slam, finishing eight strokes behind Schauffele, but given how well Schauffele was playing, it's possible Scheffler would have had difficulty keeping up even without the distraction of the Friday incident.

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