Scheffler: “All the evidence pointed to exactly what my side of the story was”

Mark McGowan

Scottie Scheffler (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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“I thought you were going to ask me about golf,” was Scottie Scheffler’s humourous response to the opening question from the floor at his pre-tournament press conference at Muirfield Village. The question naturally was concerned with the recent news that all charges had been dropped against the world number one following his altercation with a police officer prior to the second round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

“When did I find out the charges were going to be dropped? I had a good idea at the end of the week at Colonial that they were going to be dropped. Obviously, we had a lot of evidence on our side. We needed to let the legal process play out at that point. Towards the end of the week at Colonial, I think my lawyer used the term, like, it went from, like, a one-foot putt to it’s on the lip, kind of thing, and then nothing is obviously official until it becomes really official, but I think Friday afternoon it was pretty official in our mind. They just needed to meet with the judge to go over details and stuff like that.”

Despite the reference to the ‘one-foot putt’, he admitted that the angst had remained right up until the moment that he received final confirmation that he was in the clear and that fragments of the experience still remain, particularly because now that the charges have been dropped and he’s able to talk about it freely, that’s exactly what’s happening. And the mugshot image, as he points out, is not going away anytime soon.

“No, I definitely hadn’t moved past it,” he said. “I would say that I still, you know, wouldn’t have a hundred percent moved past it because, yeah, 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.

“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, I think, kind of stick with me. That mug shot, I’m sure is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

He was also asked if he’d considered taking legal action against the Louisville Police Department given that the charges being dropped was effectively an admission that he’d been wronged and, for a short period at least, his character defamed.

“For me personally, no,” he replied. “That was something that if we needed to use it, I think Steve [Romines, Scheffler’s attorney] was more than ready to use that, just because, like I said, there was a ton of evidence in our favor. 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, if it — if I kind of became, like — 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 at the end of the day, 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.”

With the drama seemingly now behind him, he’s looking forward to doing what he does best and is once again the strong favourite as the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village is set to get underway.

“I showed up at Colonial ready to play,” he said. “I didn’t just show up to go whack the ball around. I played and I wanted to compete and I wanted to win the tournament and that’s why I’m here this week.

“So when it comes to on the golf course stuff, I’m always prepared to go out and play. I was prepared to go play in Louisville, even after I got arrested. I went out on Friday and had a good round golf. Saturday wasn’t my best stuff, but came back again on Sunday. And so on the course, I’m always ready to play. No matter what the circumstances are off the course, if I’m showing up at a tournament, it’s not some sort of ceremonial deal. I’m here to play.”

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