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Scottie Scheffler caps a ‘hectic’ weekend by rallying to a strong finish at the PGA Championship

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The sentence seemed unthinkable at the beginning of the PGA Championship. Or any other time for that matter.

And yet there Scottie Scheffler was late Sunday afternoon, talking matter-of-factly about a week in which his burgeoning celebrity crossed over into notoriety in a way the world’s top-ranked golfer never imagined.

Asked if a so-so third-round Saturday that cost him a legitimate shot at a third career major title was the ripple effect of all the chaos that came a day earlier, Scheffler offered a response that seemed absurd — except for the part where it also happened to be true.

“I got arrested Friday morning and I showed up here and played a good round of golf, as well,” he explained.

Scheffler played another one Sunday, a 6-under 65 that vaulted him into a tie for eighth and featured all the hallmarks of a vintage Scheffler performance: a couple of laser-guided approaches, a handful of birdie putts and the relentlessness that has become his trademark.

Here’s what the weekend also featured: members of the gallery wearing hastily made T-shirts with Scheffler’s mug shot and yelling “Free Scottie!” over and over (and over).

Oh, and questions afterward about his schedule, including whether he planned to stick around for his scheduled Tuesday morning arraignment on multiple charges stemming from an incident outside Valhalla Golf Club in the predawn hours before Friday’s second round or head home to his wife Meredith and newborn son Bennett back home in Dallas.

“I think it’s all up in the air,” Scheffler said. “I’m not really sure what the next days have in store. I think I’m able to get home … but we’ll see when I leave here. I haven’t really had much chance to assess the situation off the course.”

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell said Sunday his office had made no decisions on Scheffler’s case and is continuing to gather information.

Scheffler’s weeklong stay in Kentucky may have made the affable 27-year-old Texan more well-known than if he had finished the tournament by raising the Wannamaker Trophy in triumph.

Rather than become a PGA champion this weekend, Scheffler became a meme.

And while he thanked nearly everyone who came across his path outside Kentucky’s largest city for their support, the guys he plays with every week couldn’t help but have his back and have a little fun about the bizarreness of it all at the same time.

“Frustrating week in KY. Lost to a guy who was literally in jail Friday morning,” fellow PGA Tour pro Max Homa posted on Instagram after finishing five shots behind Scheffler. “Tough look for me.”

Homa was kidding, of course. Yet the attention has put Scheffler in the uncomfortable position of trying to balance very disparate things at the same time.

Yes, he really was placed in handcuffs and taken to jail for allegedly disobeying the orders of a police officer tending to the scene of an accident where a vendor working the tournament was struck and killed by a bus. Yes, he really did get fingerprinted. Yes, he really did still make it back to the course in time to fire a 4-under 67 that put him in contention.

At the same time, all of this was taking place against the backdrop of a tragedy that wasn’t far from Scheffler’s mind. He extended his sympathies to John Mills’ family on Friday while adding his arrest a “big misunderstanding” and that his situation would “get handled.”

It’s a lot to take in. Yet Scheffler was able — for two of the final three hours anyway — to somehow tune out all of it.

“I’ve gotten better throughout my career of leaving the off-course distractions at home and kind of keeping a pretty quiet personal life,” he said. “And this week obviously that was not the case.”

No, it was not. Much of what was happening around Scheffler — in particular the way fans had fun with the image of a player whose idea of a good time is staying in and playing board games — was out of his control.

Sunday, with caddie Ted Scott back on the bag a day after Scott went home to attend his daughter’s high school graduation, Scheffler put together a charge fueled by seven birdies against one bogey that looked — inside the ropes anyway — an awful lot like business as usual.

Except, it wasn’t. Scheffler admitted he nearly fell asleep while signing his scorecard and his thoughts immediately began racing toward the opportunity to get back to Texas and fatherhood.

He is scheduled to play at Colonial in Fort Worth next week. He intends on keeping that commitment, but only after having a chance to get back to Meredith and Bennett and put a little distance between himself and three “hectic” days he never saw coming.

“I’m just kind of just wondering what time bedtime is,” Scheffler said. “I’m trying to figure out how quickly I can get home from here and, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”



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Will Graves , 2024-05-20 01:41:17

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