Prosecutor drops all charges filed against Scottie Scheffler in PGA Championship arrest

June 2, 2024

A Kentucky prosecutor on Wednesday dropped all of the criminal charges that had been filed against world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler, resolving the case less than two weeks after his shocking arrest.

Scheffler, 27, was facing four criminal charges – including second degree assault on a police officer, which is a felony – after police said he disregarded an officer’s command and dragged him with his car while attempting to enter Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville before his second-round tee time at the PGA Championship on May 17.

In a brief court appearance Wednesday, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell told a judge that his office had reviewed all of the evidence in the case and found that Scheffler’s actions “do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offenses.”

“Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr. Scheffler,” O’Connell said. “Mr. Scheffler’s characterization that this was ‘a big misunderstanding’ is corroborated by the evidence.”

Scheffler’s attorney, Steve Romines, said in a news conference Wednesday that his client does not plan to file a lawsuit against the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, though “there are absolutely grounds” for one.

“He doesn’t want to be involved in one. Because who pays (if he prevails)? The taxpayers of Louisville,” Romines said. “Scottie Scheffler doesn’t want the taxpayers of Louisville to have to pay him a dime. He wishes to move forward from this case.”

Scheffler also acknowledged the decision in a statement released on social media, saying in part that he holds no ill will toward Bryan Gillis, the officer who confronted and arrested him. Gillis claimed in the initial incident report that he had suffered “pain, swelling and abrasions” in the encounter with Scheffler, adding that his pants were damaged beyond repair after he was “dragged” by the golfer’s car.

“I wish to put this incident behind me and move on, and I hope he will do the same,” Scheffler said in his statement. “Police officers have a difficult job and I hold them in high regard. This was a severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation.”

Scheffler also offered his condolences to the family of John Mills, who was killed in a traffic collision in front of Valhalla Golf Club earlier on May 17. The collision led to increased police presence in the area, which Scheffler said contributed to his confusion that morning.

The decision to dismiss Scheffler’s charges came less than a week before his scheduled arraignment, which had been pushed to June 3. Scheffler did not personally appear in court Wednesday.

O’Connell and his office would have likely faced an uphill battle in securing a conviction against the reigning Masters champion, particularly after the information disclosed by police last week. LMPD said in a news conference that Gillis did not have his body-worn camera turned on at the time, which violated the department’s policy, and had been punished as a result. Other publicly-released footage of the incident did not show Scheffler’s car dragging Gillis as described in the initial incident report.

Scheffler was charged with second degree assault on a police officer, which is a felony, as well as three misdemeanors: Criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic.

After being booked into jail, changing into an orange jumpsuit and having his mug shot taken, Scheffler was released and made his morning tee time for the second round of the PGA Championship. He finished in a tie for eighth place, eight

Romines indicated Wednesday that Scheffler’s case is an example of a police department “overcharging,” or filing additional charges against a defendant to give itself more leverage in potential negotiations down the line. He also cited the incident as proof that anyone is “one wrong turn” or “one encounter with a police officer going sideways” from facing criminal charges.

“It can happen to anybody. And it does. It happens every day,” Romines said.

Louisville’s police department said it respects O’Connell’s decision not to proceed with the criminal charges against Scheffler.

“LMPD will remain focused on our mission to serve the city of Louisville and mitigate violent crime,” the department said in a statement.

Despite the hectic weekend in Louisville, Scheffler played in last week’s PGA Tour event, the Charles Schwab Challenge, which was held at Colonial Country Club near his home in Dallas.

The reigning Masters champion opted out of this weekend’s RBC Canadian Open but has committed to play in The Memorial, which is scheduled to begin June 6 in Dublin, Ohio.