Scottie Scheffler endures rough start to round three at Valhalla

Scottie Scheffler’s troubles switched from off course to on as his bid for back-to-back major victories suffered significant early blows at Valhalla.

Scheffler went into the third round of the 106th US PGA Championship three shots off the lead after remarkably carding a 66 on Friday, just hours after being charged with assaulting a police officer.

However, that deficit more than doubled in the space of just four holes as Scheffler needed two attempts to hack out of heavy rough on the second, three-putted the third and drove into a hazard on the short fourth.

A birdie on the fifth steadied the ship but still left Scheffler six shots behind overnight leader Xander Schauffele, with Shane Lowry just two off the pace after charging to the turn in 29 thanks to six birdies in eight holes.

Scheffler had been arrested shortly after 6am on Friday after an officer claimed he had ignored his instructions as he tried to evade traffic congestion caused by the early-morning fatality of John Mills, a tournament security guard who was hit by a shuttle bus.

Scheffler’s lawyer insists the world number one is prepared to go to trial unless the assault charge is dropped, insisting his client had “done nothing wrong”.

An 80-minute delay caused by the fatal accident meant the second round had to be completed on Saturday and Jon Rahm admitted he was surprised to be one of the big-name casualties when the halfway cut was finally made at one under.

A record 78 players were in red figures after two rounds of a major championship, eclipsing the previous mark of 71 in the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool.

However, Rahm was not among them after missing out by a single shot, with Matt Fitzpatrick and Ludvig Aberg also finishing level par and Tiger Woods tied for 133rd on seven over.

Rahm has finished in the top 10 of each of his seven LIV Golf events this season, but was a lowly 45th in the defence of his Masters title last month and his early exit in Louisville ended his streak of major cuts made at 18.

“Surprised,” Rahm said of his two rounds. “Surprised because of how I felt like I was hitting it in Australia and Singapore and in the week off before coming here, especially off the tee, hitting great drives, and that’s what’s been my downfall.

“I just couldn’t find a fairway off the tee. You can make birdies off the fairway, but off the rough, it’s a tough golf course to score on and that’s kind of what happened to me.”

Rahm’s performance in the majors since switching to LIV will inevitably raise questions over whether it was a mistake to join the Saudi-funded breakaway, which has small fields and 54-hole events with a shotgun start.

The Spaniard insisted earlier this week he still feels like a PGA Tour member despite being suspended, while former Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington does not believe Rahm is regretting his controversial switch.

“I didn’t feel any buyer’s remorse out there,” Harrington said after a practice round with Rahm and Shane Lowry.


“My own personal opinion is I’m kind of frustrated because at times I thought I knew what the situation was [in talks between golf’s rival factions], but it’s changed so much, every day it seems to change. It’s hard to get a handle on it.

“I honestly think at this stage you kind of need an independent adjudicator to come in and tell everybody what’s what.

“It doesn’t seem to be good for golf to fracture, the PGA Tour is missing some of the guys who we didn’t think we’d miss and somebody needs to come in and tell us what to do.

“We need a mediator to sort it out. We would all like solid clarity and leave it at that.”


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