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Cut Line: Will Scottie Scheffler’s arrest have historical consequences?

In this week’s edition, we breakdown a (successful) renovation, a (chilling) reflection and a (curious) resignation from a busy week on and off the golf course.

Made Cut

Trending. Last week didn’t end the way Jordan Spieth would have liked but given the 13-time Tour winner’s struggles this season it was his start at the PGA Championship, with rounds of 69-69-67, that was encouraging.

Spieth, who struggled on Sunday at Valhalla to tie for 43rd, followed that performance at the year’s second major with an equally solid start at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where he was two shots off the lead midway through his second round.

“I did a lot of good things the last couple weeks and improving on some stuff I wanted to, and I still have some parts of the game that need some work and hopefully knock that out today and into the beginning of this weekend it gets better and better,” Spieth said at Colonial.

For a player who has struggled with a wrist injury and is more than two years removed from his last Tour victory, incremental gains are better than the alternative.

A masterpiece makeover. The challenge of updating Colonial, the Fort Worth, Texas, gem that’s hosted a PGA Tour event since 1946, was walking the fine line between modernizing a classic course without stomping on the architecture that made it a masterpiece — and more times than not, that line gets crossed.

That didn’t happen at Colonial.

Architect Gil Hanse injected the course, one of a couple of layouts often referred to as Hogan’s Alley, with a modern touch and a bit more punch while keeping the nuances that made it one of the best tests on the Tour.

“It’s going to still take a year or two to really see how this golf course plays. This year it’s going to play firm and fast because it’s so new and immature,” said Ryan Palmer, a Colonial member who consulted in the renovation. “It’s going to bring back a little bit of history of this golf course back when it was first designed. You hear Gil talk a lot about the course Ben Hogan played. It’s cool and nice to see that kind of come back to life. I’m excited about it.”

Keeping pace with the bigger, stronger, faster modern professional is always a challenge and it should be celebrated when it’s done correctly.

Reacting to the Scheffler arrest footage
The Golf Channel crew watches and reacts to the video released by the Louisville Police Department of Scottie Scheffler's arrest prior to the second round of the PGA Championship.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

History. Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back to June 3 and the officer who arrested the world No. 1, Det. Bryan Gillis, was disciplined this week for not having his body camera operational during the incident or arrest.

The Louisville Metro Police Department also released separate videos of the incident last Friday at the PGA Championship – although neither video shows the initial interaction between Scheffler and Gillis that, according to the police report, led to his arrest – and Scheffler’s attorney doubled down that his client is innocent of all four charges against him, including the felony count of assaulting a police officer.

But lost in the legal happenings is a player who was on a historic pace having won four of his previous five starts, including the Masters and Players Championship. He was the heavy favorite at Valhalla and despite his time in the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections he was able to finish tied for eighth at Valhalla.

It’s imperative to let the legal system sort out what happened last Friday in the dark on Shelbyville Road, but it’s impossible not to imagine how those events will impact an otherwise historic season.

Valhalla swansong. PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said all the right things last week when asked how Valhalla Golf Club would fit into the future rotation for the PGA Championship.

“Louisville shows up, right, and they show up in every way and that’s why we are having record [attendance],” Waugh said. “I’d also say that we have a discipline where we don’t commit to future sites past seven to eight years. … The fact that we don’t announce something this week or next week or even next year doesn’t mean Valhalla isn’t a great venue that we are thinking about.”

Left unsaid, however, is how the addition of PGA Frisco, the association’s new home in Texas, could impact Valhalla’s future. The new course outside of Dallas is slated to host the 2027 PGA Championship. There were also much-talked-about traffic issues last week and a record winning score that likely made even the cool heads at the PGA a tad uncomfortable.

If last week was the last major played at the Louisville layout it was certainly an eventful swansong.

Missed Cut

Uncertainty. A pair of resignations from the PGA Tour’s policy board in less than a week only added to the general sense of uncertainty that currently overshadows the professional game.

Late Sunday while most of the golf media were breaking down Xander Schauffele’s victory at the PGA Championship, Mark Flaherty resigned from the board. Less than a week earlier Jimmy Dunne, the architect of last June’s framework agreement between the Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, also resigned.

Dunne was far more outspoken than Flaherty in his resignations letter, writing to the board, “Since the players now outnumber the independent directors on the board and no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous.”.

Neither Dunne nor Flaherty were named to the PGA Tour Enterprises board of directors which will ultimately decide what, if any, the deal with the Saudis looks like and perhaps, as commissioner Jay Monahan suggested in a memo to players, this is nothing more than poor timing. Or maybe this is an indication that there’s just as much uncertainty behind the closed boardroom doors as there is on the outside.