“I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell”

Ronan MacNamara
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Scottie Scheffler at the PGA Championship at Valhalla (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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In an extremely well handled press conference, Scottie Scheffler detailed how his body was shaking for an hour as he sat and even warmed up in a jail cell ahead of his second round at the PGA Championship.

Scheffler was arrested just after 6am local time in Louisville when he attempted to avoid an unrelated traffic incident that saw a pedestrian killed.

In what is one of the most bizarre golfing stories, he made his tee time with 56 minutes to spare having been released and he carded a 66 to move to within two of clubhouse leader Collin Morikawa on nine-under.

“I feel like my head is still spinning. I can’t really explain what happened this morning. I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell,” said the American who was charged with assault in the second degree of a police officer, criminal mischief in the third degree, reckless driving, and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic.

“That was a first for me. That was part of my warmup. I was just sitting there waiting and I started going through my warmup, 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.”

Scheffler was keen to try and take the spotlight off himself and sent his sympathies to the family of championship volunteer John Mills was hit by a bus crossing the road outside the club at 5am and killed.

“Yeah, first of all, my sympathies go out to the family of Mr. Mills. I can’t imagine what they’re going through this morning. One day he’s heading to the golf course to watch a tournament. A few moments later he’s trying to cross the street, and now he’s no longer with us. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. My heart — I feel for them. I’m sorry.”

The world number one was inadvertently caught up in chaotic early morning traffic at Valhalla but he was unaware of the tragedy that had taken place.

Scheffler was cuffed and detained for ignoring the police and driving past them, then put in a holding cell in jail, where he admitted he got “the full experience.”

“It was just a big misunderstanding. If you’ve got any questions about the golf today, I’m happy to answer that, but outside of that, I can’t get into what transpired, outside of my heart goes out to the family.”

Renowned as an unflappable character, he admitted he was shaking for up to an hour and he did struggle mentally to tune in for the first few holes but once he did it was the same imperious Scheffler that has dominated the season so far.

A birdie, bogey, birdie start was capped off with a birdie on the par-5 18th but as he made the turn for home, he heated up.

Birdies on the 2nd, 4th and 7th saw him move into a share of third place and ominously into contention for the weekend as he looks for back-to-back majors.

“Yeah, I was pretty rattled to say the least,” he said. “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 sitting there waiting to kind of go in, and I asked him, I was like, Hey, excuse me, can you just come to hang out with me for a few minutes so I can calm 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.

“He 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.

“This one older officer looked at me as I was doing my fingerprints or whatever, and he looks at me and he goes, ‘So do you want the full experience today?’ I kind of looked at him, and I was like, I don’t know how to answer that.

“He’s like, ‘Come on, man, you want a sandwich?’ I was like, Sure, I’ll take a sandwich. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind. I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning. That’s really all it was.

“I was shaking. 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.

“Basically just calm down so I could come out here and try and play golf. I knew there was going to be a lot of distractions, but I didn’t really know what the reception would be like. To be honest with you, it was great having the fans behind me. They cheered for me really loud. I felt like they were really glad to have me out competing today, and it was a nice day to come out here and compete.”

 

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