Why Scottie Scheffler won’t be appearing in court this week

Scheffler’s arraignment has been delayed until June 3

The mug shot of Scottie Scheffler made the rounds after Scheffler was detained by police Friday morning on his way to the PGA Championship. (Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections via AP)
The mug shot of Scottie Scheffler made the rounds after Scheffler was detained by police Friday morning on his way to the PGA Championship. (Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections via AP)

Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment on charges stemming from a traffic incident outside Valhalla Golf Club has been delayed from Tuesday until June 3, according to Scheffler’s attorney.

The incident occurred early Friday morning, when traffic was stopped outside Valhalla due to a fatal accident that occurred around 5 a.m. Players were allowed to enter the course, and Scheffler arrived at Valhalla around 6 a.m. to prepare for his 8:48 a.m. tee time.

A police officer on the scene stopped Scheffler from entering. According to the police report, Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging [the officer] to the ground.”

"I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler said in a later statement. “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.”

Scheffler was handcuffed and taken to jail for booking. He was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer (a felony), criminal mischief in the third degree (a misdemeanor), reckless driving (a traffic violation) and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic (a misdemeanor).

After a short time in jail, Scheffler was released in time to make his tee time at the PGA Championship. He shot an impressive 66 on Friday, but faltered on Saturday and was not in contention for the championship.

Steve Romines, Scheffler’s attorney, said that the arraignment has been moved from this Tuesday to Monday, June 3, according to Sports Illustrated. One local Louisville attorney notes that there are many reasons why an arraignment could be moved, but the first is the most obvious: Scheffler needs to be present for the hearing.

“In Kentucky, if you’re charged with a felony, you’re supposed to appear in person for all the court appearances,” says Gary Stewart, a longtime Louisville criminal defense attorney, who added that appearance via Zoom is permissible post-pandemic. Misdemeanor charges can be handled by attorneys, without the accused present.

Scheffler is currently scheduled to play the Charles Schwab Challenge in his home state of Texas this week. The Memorial in Ohio, about 220 miles northeast of Louisville, is scheduled for the week of June 3, though Monday is typically the least busy day of a tournament week.

“Maybe it was something for convenience for [Scheffler],” Stewart says, “and also I think it gives everybody a chance to catch their breath and figure out what they’re going to do.”

In deciding whether to drop or amend the charges, Jefferson County officials must consider a range of options, including the necessity of punishment; the public appearance of any action or inaction; the possibility that the story could change with new evidence; and, primarily, service to the public.

“The county attorney obviously represents the county, and he has to protect the police,” Stewart says. “So there’s got to be concern whether or not there would be any type of civil suit.” He further noted that the county may wish to proceed with some caution to ensure that no other evidence shows up — video from another, non-police source, for example — that could change the prevailing narrative of the case.

“They don’t want to have egg on their face,” Stewart says, “with having something show up after they cut a deal.”