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World No. 1 golfer charged with police officer assault before PGA Championship second round

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World number one Scottie Scheffler was arrested and charged with the assault of a police officer in what he called a "chaotic situation" before being released in time to start his second round at the PGA Championship on Friday.

Scheffler, who was placed in the back of a police car in handcuffs and later pictured in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit, said the early-morning incident was due to a misunderstanding with regards to traffic flow following a fatal accident in the area around Valhalla Golf Club.

"This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers," Scheffler said on social media.

"It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.

"I never intended to disregard any of the instructions. I'm hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today."

According to the police report, Scheffler was heading eastbound to gain access to the course and then pulled into the westbound lanes, where outbound traffic was flowing, to avoid backed-up vehicles.

The report said the officer stopped Scheffler, who was in a marked player-courtesy vehicle, but that the golfer refused to comply and instead accelerated forward, dragging the officer to the ground.

Louisville police said the officer was taken to hospital after suffering pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee.

Scottie Scheffler posted a statement in an Instagram story following his arrest.

Steve Romines, a local attorney hired on Scheffler's behalf, said the golfer was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer.

"He did exactly as he was instructed to do to enter the premises," said Romines. "We'll just deal with the court system as it comes."

Scottie Scheffler is shown in this Friday, May 17, 2024, mug shot. (Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections via AP)

After finally arriving at Valhalla under a steady rain, Scheffler was greeted by plenty of encouragement from the fans and headed straight to the driving range.

Despite the whirlwind of chaos and abbreviated warm-up, Scheffler opened his round with a birdie at the par-five 10th hole where his third shot from 97 yards out settled three feet from the hole.

British Open champion Brian Harman, who is playing in a group with Scheffler, commented on the situation before setting out for the second round.

Scottie Scheffler warms up before the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

"Just a wild morning," said Harman. "I don't know all the details but I know, knowing Scottie, that he is one hell of a dude and I sure am glad that he is going to be out here to play."

Scheffler, who along with his wife welcomed their first child last week, is seeking his fifth win in six starts and a second consecutive major title.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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