Scottie Scheffler Discusses Dropped Charges From Arrest: 'That Will Always Stick With Me'

The World No. 1 said he was prepared to pursue legal action against the Louisville Police Department on advice of legal counsel but preferred to move on.
Scottie Scheffler is playing this week at the Memorial and then in next week's U.S. Open.
Scottie Scheffler is playing this week at the Memorial and then in next week's U.S. Open. / Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

DUBLIN, Ohio — Although he didn’t want to do so, Scottie Scheffler said he was prepared upon the advice of legal counsel to pursue action against the Louisville Police Department if the charges stemming from a traffic incident on May 17 while trying to get to the PGA Championship were not dropped.

Scheffler, who is playing in this week’s Memorial Tournament, spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since charges were dropped last Thursday. He faced four charges, including one felony, for the incident that occurred outside of Valhalla Golf Club that led to his arrest.

“That was something that if we needed to use it, I think Steve was more than ready to use that, just because, like I said, there was a ton of evidence in our favor,” Scheffler said, referencing his Louisville attorney, Steve Romines. “There was eyewitnesses on the scene that corroborated my story and the video evidence, the police officer talking to me after.

“All the evidence pointed to exactly what my side of the story was, and so if we needed to ... I don't really know how to describe it, but basically, if I had to show up in court, I think Steve was more than prepared to pursue legal action.

“But at the end of the day, I did not want to have to pursue legal action against Louisville because the people of Louisville are then going to have to pay for the mistakes of their police department, and that just doesn't seem right. So at no point did I ever want to sue them, but if it came there, I think my lawyer was more than prepared to use that as more of like a bargaining chip-type thing more than anything.”

A pedestrian, John Mills, was struck and killed by a shuttle bus on his way to working at the tournament around 5 a.m., leading to a massive police presence and traffic backups.

Players and officials were allowed into the entrance of Valhalla Golf Club but Scheffler ran afoul of police officer Bryan Gillis, who directed Scheffler to stop and ended up arresting the golfer after he was said to not follow orders. Scheffler maintained he was not aware of the reason for the traffic issues.

Among the charges was a felony, second-degree assault of a police officer; Gillis alleged in his police report that Scheffler dragged him as he asked him to stop the car.

Subsequent video shows Scheffler being interviewed in a car by another officer and saying “he was hitting me with his flashlight” and while admitting he should have stopped, believed that Gillis was “overly aggressive.”

In a matter of minutes, Scheffler was arrested and handcuffed and taken to a local jail, where he awaited his fate. Tee times for the second round had been delayed due to the fatality, and Scheffler made it back to the course with less than an hour before he was to start, shooting 66 before falling out of contention on Saturday. He ended up tied for eighth.

He played the following week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where he finished second, and only then did he begin to feel that the matter would be resolved.

“I would say that I still wouldn't have a hundred percent moved past it because the charges are dropped, but I still—now it's almost more appropriate for people to ask me about it and ask me about the situation and, to be honest with you, it's not something that I love reliving, just because it was fairly traumatic for me being arrested going into the golf course,” Scheffler said.

“And so it's not something that I love talking about and it's something that I'm hoping to move past, but when the charges are dropped, that's kind of only the beginning of kind of getting past it, if that makes sense. So kind of operating through that now. It was definitely a bit of a relief, but not total relief because that's something that will always kind of stick with me.

“That mug shot, I'm sure is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

In a lighter moment, Scheffler was asked if he’d ever gotten a parking ticket or any kind of traffic violation previous to the Louisville incident.

“I have had a couple speeding tickets,” Scheffler said. “My dad used to make fun of me because I had—my dad's really good with words, and so if he's—I've watched him get pulled over a couple times and not get a ticket. I've been pulled over a couple times and I'm batting a hundred percent on getting tickets.

“So, yeah, I've had a few speeding tickets, a parking ticket, maybe. I can't remember the last time I was in a fight or anything like that.

“I think that's part of also kind of the recovery process from the whole scenario, is your brain tries to figure out how this happened, and I will probably never figure out why or how this happened, but it's just one of those deals that it will always be kind of ingrained in my season this year, but with time, people will forget.”


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.