Ryan Fox reflects on PGA Championship death & Scottie Scheffler arrest

Publish Date
Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 4:00PM

By Christopher Reive

Ryan Fox says there was “a little bit of disbelief” ahead of the second round of the PGA Championship last week in “the weirdest morning in golf for a long, long time”.

The golf world was shaken on the morning of the second round at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky on Saturday [New Zealand time] when a man was struck by a shuttle bus and killed outside the venue at around 5am [local time].

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler was later arrested and charged with second-degree assault, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from a police officer as he tried to enter the golf course for his morning tee time, though he was released in time to play his second round.

Reflecting on the week that was, Fox, who had a later second-round tee time, told the Herald everyone in the clubhouse felt for the family of the man who died.

“The fact that someone could get hit outside the golf course like that, you know, you think with the amount of police and everything around even early in the morning, that that would be hard. Everyone felt for the guy’s family. Something like that theoretically shouldn’t be able to happen,” Fox said.

“Then that news got taken over by what happened to Scottie. I think it was just a bit of confusion all around, and I think everyone agreed that Scottie Scheffler was probably the least likely person in the whole field to get arrested going into a major championship.

“It was just a bizarre scenario and you kind of felt like it took away from... what happened earlier that morning and it kind of took away a little bit from the event that something so strange could happen.”

Scheffler was initially scheduled to appear in court this week, but has had that date pushed back until June 3. The BBC reports the arresting officer had failed to activate his bodycam video before Scheffler was stopped, handcuffed and arrested, despite it being standard operating procedure, and Louisville police will investigate if policies were correctly followed.

In a statement to ESPN after his arrest, Scheffler said he was proceeding as directed by officers and it had been a misunderstanding over what he thought he was being asked to do.

Fox said the players at the tournament had been sent messages to alert them to the situation after the man’s death and told them how they should go about getting into the venue.

“I’ve got the messages that as players, we were told in the tournament cars you can get in the front gate and obviously there was some kind of weird misunderstanding there,” Fox said.

“I remember I woke up in the morning, my wife said, A – someone’s died outside the golf course and B – Scottie Scheffler has been arrested trying to get to the golf course. I was like, you’re kidding, right? This is the weirdest morning in golf for a long, long time.”

For Fox, the week culminated in another made cut – his sixth straight weekend appearance at a major – albeit a two-over-par finish for outright 75th.

He said his second round might have been the most solid round of golf he had played so far this year, however, the score didn’t necessarily reflect that as he didn’t capitalise on some of the opportunities he created for himself, with a few mistakes and at times having to deal with playing in the mud proving an extra challenge.

But it was another made cut in which he played some strong golf throughout, and he will look to carry the good parts into the Charles Schwab Challenge this week.

While Fox finished in a tie for 21st last year at the tournament at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, the course has since been redeveloped and presents a different challenge to last year’s layout.

“They literally tore the golf course up, I think, the day after we finished last year; had a full redo,” Fox said.

“There’s a few fairway bunkers changed here and there, a couple of holes have been lengthened, the whole place has been re-grassed, the fairways are a little different than last year.

“I think there’s a few little things different sort of tee to green, but around the greens, it’s vastly different. There’s a couple of holes that have significantly changed; two of the par-threes are routed quite differently than they were in previous years, so even though it kind of felt familiar out there today, I still had to go and have a look.

“At least the one good thing is in the same boat this week. It’s a new golf course for everyone.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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