Fatality, Scheffler arrest cause concern, chaos for PGA rivals

Australia's Min Woo Lee posted a simple message on X before the second round of the PGA Championship -- #FreeScottie (Michael Reaves)
Australia's Min Woo Lee posted a simple message on X before the second round of the PGA Championship -- #FreeScottie (Michael Reaves)

A fatal accident near the entrance to Valhalla on Friday and the subsequent arrest of top-ranked Scottie Scheffler rattled rivals at the PGA Championship.

John Mills, a vendor headed to work at the course, was struck by a vehicle and killed before dawn Friday outside the entrance to Valhalla.

It was the subsequent traffic jam caused by the accident that prompted Scheffler to jump a curb trying to enter the course and led to his arrest on four charges, but he left a jail cell and fired a five-under par 66 to stand on nine-under 133 and in contention for a third major triumph.

While the tragic and bizarre tales unfolded, however, other players were trying to cope with the chaos.

"It's dark, it's raining, police lights everywhere, it was very strange coming into the course," said American Harris English, who fired a 67 to stand on 135.

"Then news broke that Scottie had been detained and all that. We had no idea what was going on. That could have been any one of us. We're all taking that same route coming into the club.

"You kind of take it all in, and talking amongst all the players and caddies and physios and our little bubble in there, and it's just wild. Turn on ESPN and seeing Scottie in handcuffs, getting in a police car, I never would have thought I would have seen that this morning.

"It was just wild."

Sadder yet, English said, was the loss of life.

"Very unfortunate. You never want to hear about a person losing their life coming to the course," he said. "It's just terrible."

Australia's Min Woo Lee was a quick supporter of Scheffler after his arrest, posting on X: "#FreeScottie."

"I thought it was a little overreaction. It was just a weird one. So much traffic. I was a bit shook about what happened on both the scenarios," Lee said after firing 66.

"During the round it was even hard to just concentrate and I had to make sure to keep my head in the game because I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone and what happened to Scottie was very scary, too. Hopefully he's OK."

- Eckroat walks to course -

Austin Eckroat went about two miles in 30 minutes in his car due the traffic backup, and took matters onto his own feet.

"I ended up getting out of my car and walking a mile and a half and having my wife drive the car in," Eckroat said.

"We were in a standstill so I pulled up the local news station trying to figure out what was going on, and the first thing I saw was Scottie had been put in handcuffs, and I was like, what in the world is going on.

"It was a weird morning."

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, who fired a 65 to briefly grab the lead, felt Mills deserved more reflection.

"I don't think that's getting talked about enough, or at all. My wishes and prayers are within that family," Morikawa said.

As for his day, that jumped into gear quickly.

"By the time I went into the workout trailer, I knew I had to focus and not worry about anyone else," said Morikawa. "It's very hard to do that when things are going on around you."