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LOUISVILLE -- During his march to the second tee box at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday afternoon, Scottie Scheffler almost certainly heard a fan yell, "Start a GoFundMe, Scottie. We'll help you out!"

If you would have explained earlier this week the reason why a random golf aficionado in Kentucky would offer to lend a financial helping hand to a man who has made over $61 million in official PGA Tour money over the course of his career, you would not -- in a million guesses -- have been able to conjure up the reason.

Scheffler, whose biggest personal flaw to date has seemingly been a comic inability to put on a vest before and after he hit shots during a chilly 2022 Masters (which he won), was arrested on his way to the golf course early Friday morning. The No. 1 player in the world was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer following a chaotic incident stemming from an unrelated pedestrian fatality on the road earlier that morning.

Scheffler went out a few hours later and shot an impressive 66 (particularly so given the circumstances), saying afterward that the entire incident was "a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding." He seemed confident after his round that he did nothing wrong, and reporting from ESPN's Jeff Darlington seemed to back up that sentiment. Of course, the police report was less genial.

Regardless of what Scheffler's legal future holds, what was undeniable Friday during the soggy, sullen second round at Valhalla is that the best golfer on the planet -- someone who has won four of his last five tournaments -- watched himself being arrested on a TV while seated in a Louisville jail cell trying to calculate whether it was possible to make it back on the course for his 10:08 a.m. ET tee time.

While waiting, he stretched. In his jail cell. In preparation for the second round of a major. Calling the entire episode bizarre or absurd may be understating it.

Scheffler did make it back to the golf course and went on to shoot the second-best round of the day at the time he finished, a 5-under 66 bettered only by Collin Morikawa's 6-under 65. Scheffler sat two shots back of Morikawa, the clubhouse leader, after the morning wave, and he should be among the top five on the leaderboard entering the weekend.

Friday's round made you believe Scheffler could shoot 66 with his hands tied behind his back, which was nearly what he attempted.

It was all so surreal. Being arrested and photographed in an orange jumpsuit in the morning. Shooting 66 and asserting his will on a major championship course in the afternoon. Throughout the day, fans on property who were dressed in custom-made Scheffler shirts -- some said "Free Scheffler," others showcased his mugshot or a photoshop of Scheffler as "Prison Mike," Michael Scott's alter ego from "The Office" -- chanted "Scottie! Scottie! Scottie!" 

"The fans were tremendous today," he said. "I felt like they were cheering extra loud for me today. I know sometimes you can't really see it on my face, but I really do enjoy playing in front of the fans. The support I've been getting the last few months out here has been tremendous, and I'm really grateful for it."

The most remarkable part of the entire saga was also the least unusual: Scottie Scheffler, who has now shot all 41 professional rounds in 2024 at par or better, scored 66 for the 10th time so far this year. During a normal major round, this would be impressive from anyone, even the No. 1 player in the world. On a day in which Scheffler was literally told to roll up his jail cell mat and head to the course, arriving less than an hour before his tee time? 

That's almost inconceivable. 

"It probably took a few holes to feel normal," Scheffler explained. "Obviously, I didn't have my normal warmup, and I usually stick to my routine. I'm a big routine guy, especially when it comes to my preparation. But it took a few holes to settle in. It was kind of nice just to be out there inside the ropes competing. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do, so I was fortunate to be able to come out here and do it again today."

A 66 hours after being arrested is emblematic of Scheffler's greatest gift. No, not his preternatural footwork that allows him to find the center of the clubface on repeat, nor his overall ability as he leads the world in strokes gained off the tee, on approach and overall since Jan. 1, nor that he is possibly the best golf course strategist in the world.

Scheffler's secret skill and greatest gift is his ability to exist the eye of the storm.

When all around him is chaos -- no matter how it finds him -- Scheffler is able to keep his head and his hands, calmly walk to the first tee and sign for a 66 a few hours later.

At the Players Championship, a neck injury nearly derailed Scheffler. At the Masters, it was the impending birth of his now-newborn son. At every turn, golf has thrown itself in front of Scheffler as if to protect all the records and history he's aiming to tear down. And yet, in each instance, he has successfully pushed it to the side.

Golfers are a notoriously soft bunch. Just after Scheffler was arrested, two-time major champion John Daly withdrew from the PGA with a thumb injury. It does not take much to derail these athletes who hit a ball with a stick and walk after it so they can do it again.

And yet, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, Scheffler seems impervious to being rattled or thrown off kilter. 

He has spoken often over the last few years about being present in every moment. Not just on the course, either. In a world that is twisted this way and that by every new notification and dinging device, Scheffler's mind seems settled. Perhaps it's that mental state that allowed him to jump back into his routine so quickly; others certainly would have been unable to gather themselves in the same manner.

"I was shaking," Scheffler admitted. "I would say in shock and in fear. Coming out here and trying to play today was definitely a challenge, but I did my best to control my mind, control my breathing. Basically, just calm down so I could come out here and try and play golf. I knew there was going to be a lot of distractions, but I didn't really know what the reception would be like.

"To be honest with you, it was great having the fans behind me. They cheered for me really loud. I felt like they were really glad to have me out competing today, and it was a nice day to come out here and compete."

It's difficult to imagine another player in this field who could be arrested six hours earlier having his name chanted as he walked off the course like Scheffler did on Friday. And yet, he has earned that benefit of the doubt. Try to find anyone -- a player, caddie, media member or otherwise -- who has a single negative thing to say about Scheffler. 

While much still needs to be sorted out legally, the way Scheffler handled what he believed to be a big misunderstanding -- complimenting the police officers who took him to jail and noting how kind they were to him throughout the process -- is emblematic of his mentality and temperament. 

Despite a sometimes-stoic demeanor, Scheffler does not take himself too seriously. During the Masters, with the entire world bloviating about his impending fatherhood, Scottie laughed about it saying he and his wife, Meredith, felt completely unprepared. (There is no better way to enter into parenting than that.)

Combine those two characteristics -- an ability to be present and an unwillingness to take one's self too seriously -- and it's not surprising that Scheffler was able to shut out the world and once again destroy this field on a day when he needed to keep pace with Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa, who started to run away a little bit from everyone else.

"It was nice to be able to get inside the ropes and do what I love to do," Scheffler said."I love competing our here on Tour; I love playing in major championships. I've kept myself in the tournament now with a pretty chaotic day, so I'm going to go from here and focus on getting some rest and recovery and get ready for a grind the last two days. And we'll see how the leaderboard shakes out, but hopefully I won't be too far back going into tomorrow."

Scheffler long ago showed that he has the ability to put the universe on mute while he operates in a world few have ever entered. What Friday precipitated, though, was the engendering of a new question that should put a bit of fear into anyone playing against Scheffler right now.

If being arrested and nearly missing one's major championship tee time while in contention -- for not just the tournament but the calendar-year grand slam -- does not affect Scheffler's ability to lock in, make six birdies and shoot himself to the top of a star-studded leaderboard ... what in the world can?