PGA Championship Recap: Scheffler arrested, Schauffele shoots 21-under par

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend, Valhalla Golf Course hosted the 106th PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Xander Schauffele finally got his first major win, Bryson DeChambeau finished second despite an all-time great performance, and Scottie Scheffler found himself in an orange jumpsuit just hours before his round on Friday morning. 

 

Scheffler’s Arrest

Before anyone teed off on Friday, May 17, the world No. 1 golfer found himself in handcuffs. Here’s what happened, according to the LMPD’s police report:

Detective Gillis, Scheffler’s arresting officer, “was directing traffic into Gate 1 of the Valhalla Golf Course due to the road being closed… [Scheffler] pulled into the westbound lanes, where unbound traffic was flowing and to avoid backed up traffic. Detective Gillis was in the middle of the westbound lanes, in full LMPD uniform and a hi-visibility yellow reflective rain jacket. Detective Gillis stopped [Scheffler] and attempted to give instructions. [Scheffler] refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground. Detective Gillis suffered pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knee. He was transported to the hospital for further medical treatment by emergency medical personnel. Detective Gillis’ uniform pants … were damaged beyond repair.”

The following week, on Thursday, May 23, the Louisville police said Gillis violated procedure by not activating his bodycam and had been disciplined. There are now speculations as to whether the initial police report was an accurate account of what transpired that morning.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, who watched the arrest, Gillis “hit Scheffler’s car with a flashlight, told Scheffler to roll down his window, reached in, opened the door himself, pulled Scheffler out of the car, put him up against the car, and immediately into handcuffs.”

After his round, Scheffler spoke to the media and recounted his experiences from the time of his arrest at around 5 a.m. until his 10:08 a.m. tee time: 

“I was shaking for like an hour … I was in shock and in fear.” 

Scheffler said that he gave his fingerprints, took a mugshot, and even had some hiccups with identification. That’s right, just hours before the PGA Championship, the No. 1 golfer in the world had trouble with identity verification at the police department. 

Nevertheless, due process took its course. Scheffler was placed in a holding cell, where he could see himself on ESPN. He even began his pre-round stretching routine. Scheffler was released around 8:40 a.m. under his own recognizance.

At 10:10 a.m., Scheffler teed off. Of course, he birdied the first hole and finished the round nine strokes under par, tied for third on the leaderboard.

Despite the media attention just outside of the golf course, Scheffler’s arrest would be overshadowed by the remarkable performances of Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau on the course.

 

Schauffele’s Historic Performance

Prior to his win at Valhalla, Schauffele had never won a major. Sunday’s victory finally exonerated the 30-year-old from the criticism that he couldn’t perform on the biggest stage: Schauffele recorded the lowest 72-hole score to par total in major championship history with 263 strokes.  

 

On the 18th, Schauffele had his eyes set on birdie to win the major, which would put him at 21-under par. A par, however, would mean a playoff between Schauffele and LIV golfer Bryson DeChambeau.

 

Schauffele’s performance on the 18th was one for the ages. First, his tee shot left him an inauspicious lie. Standing in the sand with his ball at knee-height, Schauffele struck his second shot about as well as he could given the circumstances. His ball landed to the left of the green for a short chip. Schauffele delivered a beautiful chip shot for his third stroke, leaving a six-foot putt for the major. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Schauffele was primed to vindicate himself of every narrative written about him. He picked his line, set his feet, and sunk the putt, with DeChambeau watching from the range.

 

Schauffele reflected on the moment, “I just heard everyone roaring … I just looked up to the sky in relief.”

 

DeChambeau, who shot 20-under par, left the range in disappointment. His score tied for the second lowest score to par in major history and is the only one that came in a losing effort.

 

Despite falling short of a playoff, DeChambeau was entertaining all weekend. On the 18th hole, he delivered two memorable shots in back-to-back rounds. Known for his long drive ability, DeChambeau ended Round 3 with an eagle chip on the 18th and Round 4 with a clutch birdie putt that moved him to 20-under par. Of course, he punctuated both shots with an emphatic fist pump. 

 

DeChambeau is one of the more polarizing figures in golf, but he’s entertaining and brings energy to the course like nobody else. After the tournament, he took to Instagram to reference the movie “Talladega Nights” and the great Ricky Bobby, captioning his post, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

 

In the end, from a 6 a.m. arrest to an immaculate finish on the 18th, the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Course had it all. Next up, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

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About the Contributor
Wyatt Bose
Wyatt Bose, Staff Writer
Wyatt is a first-year political science student, an ardent sports-watcher, an impassioned Philadelphia sports fan, and the founder of his sports blog, "The Cogent Column."
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