124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



Reaction

PGA Championship 2024: Players react to pedestrian death, Scheffler arrest: 'It was just wild'

May 17, 2024
2152864822

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship.

Scott Taetsch/PGA of America

LOUISVILLE — Harris English was among the first competitors in the PGA Championship to finish playing his round on Friday, and the questions for him immediately went to the tragic events of the morning at Valhalla Golf Club, where a pedestrian was killed by a bus, and the separate but stunning news that World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was arrested for allegedly attempting to drive his car past a police officer as the golfer tried to enter the course entrance.

Tee times for the second round were delayed because of the traffic issues created by the pedestrian accident, and English retreated to the physio trailer on-site, where a group of close-knit people who travel regularly on the PGA Tour were dumfounded by the news.

“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,” English said. “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.”

English recounted arriving at Valhalla at just after 5 a.m. ET, or about the same time the pedestrian accident was reported. He said he saw police cars and “had no idea what was going on.”

English also apparently decided to take a different tact than Scheffler did one hour later. “I knew they weren’t letting anybody through from that side I was arriving from, so I had to turn around, go north of the course, took an extra 20 minutes of so, and then I got to the club.

“But it’s dark, it’s raining, police lights everywhere. It was very strange coming ot the course this morning. Not the normal, quiet arrival.”

Upon learning of Scheffler being arrested, English said he had this thought: “That could have been any one of us. We’re all taking that same route coming to the club.

“Very unfortunate. You never want to hear about a person losing their life coming to the course. It’s just terrible. We’re out here playing a golf tournament, and somebody just got killed outside the entrance. … Our heart goes out to that family.”

Collin Morikawa, who played early and shot 65 to take the morning-wave lead with an 11-under total, said, "First off, it's unfortunate for the person that did pass away earlier today. I don't think that's getting talked about enough, or at all."

On arriving at the course, Morikawa said, "I snuck my way in. ... I think I was one of the last few players to get in without any chaos. Kind of talked my way through."

Mark Hubbard, who shot 68 to get into contention at nine under, said he thought more people on the course could be discussing the Scheffler situation rather than a person dying.

"I think it's a weird world we live in," Hubbard said. "With social media, I think the important stuff can kind of get lost sometimes."

Xander Schauffele, the 36-hole leader, played in the afternoon, so he saw all of the news well before he teed off. After his roujnd, while first noting the loss of life, Schauffele said when news brokes it felt like a "prank or something when you see a ug shot of Scottie."

Schauffele and Scheffler share physios and have played against each other for years. "I know he's a solid guy and there was no mal intent by him to anyone," Schauffele said. "So hopefully he goes out unscathed. Scottie's a good dude, so hopefully he's fine."

With traffic on the road outside of Valhalla at a complete standstill after the accident, some players took extraorindary measures to reach the course. Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young were filmed walking on the road.

Austin Eckroat said after his round that he and his wife were on their way to the course when they received a text about the tee times being delayed. He said he eventually got out of the car to walk about a mile and a half, and asked his wife to drive the rest of the way.

"It was a weird morning. Something I've never experienced. It was a tragedy followed by a weird incident. It was interesting, but luckily it didn't affect my play too bad," said Eckroat, who shot 67 and was tied for fifth among those in the morning wave.

MORE GOLF DIGEST PGA CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE