Already have an account?
Get back to the

Golf’s Biggest Scandals Through the Years: Scottie Scheffler’s Arrest, Tiger Woods’ Divorce and More

Golf’s Biggest Scandals and Controversies Through the Years
Scottie Sheffler and Tiger Woods. Getty Images (2)

If you thought watching golf was riveting, prepare to take a swing at the drama away from the course.

In the middle of the 2024 PGA Championship, held at the Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky, sports fans were surprised to learn Scottie Scheffler was detained hours before round two of the tournament took place on May 17, 2024. The top golfer was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals, according to local outlet WAVE 3.

Scheffler was later released and called the whole ordeal a “big misunderstanding.”

“I’m hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today,” he said in a statement via PGA before making his tee time.

Masters 2024 Winner Scottie Scheffler and Meredith Scheffler's Relationship Timeline

Related: Golfer Scottie Scheffler and Wife Meredith's Relationship Timeline

Scheffler isn’t the first player to find himself in the headlines for reasons other than his golf game. Keep reading to see more scandals and controversies in the golf world over the years.

Scottie Scheffler Arrested During PGA Championship

Scottie Sheffler Golf’s Biggest Scandals and Controversies Through the Years
Louisville DOC/MEGA

Hours before competing in the second round of the PGA Championship, Scheffler was stopped by Louisville Metro Police officers as he tried to drive into the Valhalla Golf Club parking lot for the tournament. According to ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington, who witnessed the exchange, police reportedly told Scheffler to stop driving on the path, which had been blocked after a fatal car accident. According to ESPN, Scheffler continued driving in the lot despite the police officer’s warning.

“This morning, I was proceeding as directed by police officers. 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,” Scheffler later said in a statement via PGA. “I never intended to disregard any of the instructions. I’m hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today. Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man who passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything in perspective.”

Tiger Woods’ Infidelity and Divorce 

In 2009, at the top of his career, Woods’ life was turned upside down when news broke that the golfer had a long-term mistress, Rachel Uchitel. Other women came forward with claims they’d been intimate with Woods while he was married to Elin Nordegren. The couple experienced a public split in early 2010 as Woods entered rehab and finalized their divorce in August of that year.

Despite the shocking scandal, the pair appear to be in a much better place today as they coparent their two children, Sam and Charlie. “Tiger and Elin are truly in a great place,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in March 2023. “He’s been so great with the kids, and that really brought her around to having a friendship with Tiger.”


Related: Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren's Quotes About Their Marriage and Split

Dustin Johnson Suspended for Six Months by the PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson Golf’s Biggest Scandals and Controversies Through the Years
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Back in August 2014, Johnson was suspended for six months by the PGA Tour after he reportedly tested positive for drugs. The golfer, however, said he was taking a leave of absence to “seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.”

“By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion,” Johnson added in his statement.

In a January 2015 interview with ESPN, Johnson said drugs “didn’t really have a role in my life.” He also said he never failed a drug test on the PGA tour. Instead, he attributed his problems to drinking too much. “[I] would drink and drink to excess,” Johnson said, adding that “the change I made is, I just don’t do that anymore.”

Golf Digest’s Controversial Cover With Paulina Gretzky

After failing to feature a female golfer on its cover for six years, Golf Digest sparked controversy when the outlet decided to feature model Paulina Gretzky — the girlfriend of Johnson at the time — for its May 2014 issue. “If a magazine called Golf Digest is interested in showcasing females in the game, yet consistently steers away from the true superstars who’ve made history over the last few years, something is clearly wrong,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said at the time. The publication defended the cover, pointing out that Paulina is a celebrity in the golf world because of Johnson and because of her connection to professional hockey player Wayne Gretzky.  (Paulina and Johnson wed in 2022.)

Phil Mickelson Involved in Insider Trading Scandal 

Phil Mickelson Golf’s Biggest Scandals and Controversies Through the Years
Rob Carr/Getty Images

In May 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Mickelson made $931,000 after purchasing stock on an insider trading tip. The golf pro, however, was not criminally charged after he agreed to pay back “all ill-gotten gains” totaling more than $1 million.

A spokesman for Mickelson said the athlete had “no desire to benefit from any transaction that the SEC sees as questionable.”

“Phil understands and deeply respects the high professional and ethical standards that the companies he represents expect of their employees, associates and of Phil himself,” the statement said. “He subscribes to the same values and regrets any appearance that, on this occasion, he fell short. He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation…He is pleased that this matter is over, and he will have no further comment.”

John Daly’s Brawl With a Golfer’s Dad

John Daly Golf’s Biggest Scandals and Controversies Through the Years
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

While competing at the 1994 World Series of Golf, Daly got into a fight with Jeffrey Roth’s father, Bob Roth. According to The New York Times, Bob was upset because Daly had hit balls into the group ahead of him on the Firestone Country Club North course. Bob and Daly fell to the ground, wrestled briefly and were separated by the crowd. Neither party was hurt badly and neither wanted to file police charges.

PGA Tour vs Liv Golf

The golf world found itself at a crossroads when the PGA Tour and LIV Golf were competing to be the prominent golf league. According to The New York Times, players who joined LIV were forced to resign from the PGA Tour under the threat of suspension and fines. In June 2023, however, the PGA Tour and LIV announced the creation of a new entity that would combine their assets.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!