“Big Misunderstanding:” Scottie Scheffler contending despite PGA Championship debacle

Scottie Scheffler’s head kept spinning, and he could not stop shaking after his early morning arrest at the PGA Championship.

And who could blame him? Scheffler only wanted to get to Valhalla in advance of his early morning tee time to warm up, get loose, and prepare for another major championship round.

But officers had diverted traffic in front of the club’s entrance because of a tragic accident that took the life of John Mills, a security guard for the PGA of America.

Roughly an hour later, Scheffler, driving a courtesy car, tried to maneuver around the traffic, not knowing what had transpired. Then he got caught up with the police. Between the early morning darkness and rain pouring down, confusion pervaded everywhere.

“My situation will get handled. It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding,” Scheffler said.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler speaks to the media after his round on Friday.
Photo by Brian Spurlock/Getty Images

“But 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 feels for them. I’m sorry.”

Scheffler alluded to this unfortunate tragedy numerous times throughout his post-round press conference, saying his heart feels for the family.

He also described how everything went down from his perspective, which included surreal anecdotes, such as stretching in a jail cell to watching himself get arrested on television.

But in the back of his mind, he knew he still had a chance to play.

“I tried to get my heart rate down as much as I could today, but I still feel like my head is spinning a little bit,” Scheffler said.

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler walks past fans wearing Scheffler t-shirts.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

“But I was fortunate to be able to make it back out and play some golf today.”

Scheffler arrived at Valhalla 57 minutes before his tee time at 10:08 a.m. ET and had little time to warm up. But this did not affect the world number one too much, because he went out and fired a 5-under 66.

He now sits in a tie for third at 9-under par for the championship, having gone from a jail cell to contending in a major within eight hours. That has certainly never happened before and will likely never transpire again.

Scheffler began the day with a birdie at 10, a bogey at 11, and then poured in a long birdie at 12 to jump back to 5-under for the tournament. That rollercoaster start served as a metaphor for how Scheffler began his day—although a rollercoaster does not adequately describe the scenes that played out early Friday at Valhalla.

Four more birdies followed, including a near hole-out on the par-4 2nd, one of the most challenging holes on the course.

But Scheffler, who has won four of his last five starts, had incredible support behind him as soon as his round began. That helped restore order in his mind, as he went on to play beautifully at Valhalla.

“Coming out here and trying to play today was definitely a challenge, but I did my best to control my mind, control my breathing,” Scheffler added.

“Basically just calm down so I could come out here and try and play golf. I knew there were 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.”

Scheffler, a man of faith and family who has tremendous respect for every individual he encounters, also tipped his cap to law enforcement, appreciating the job they do to keep everyone safe. He also revealed that he did not explain his identity to any officer. It’s not like he is the reigning Masters champion and the best golfer in the world or anything.

Yet, Scheffler still managed to shoot one of the “best of his career” during the second round of the PGA Championship.

“I definitely never imagined going to jail the morning before one of my tee times for sure,” Scheffler added.

“But like I said, I was grateful to be able to go out there and compete, and yeah, it was definitely a nice round of golf. But my heart goes out to [Mills] and his family.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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