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2023 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

How long can a player wait to see if a ball drops in the cup? Golf rule explained

The rule is very specific, but like all rules, they can be interpreted differently according to the situation.

Joseph McMahon
Joseph McMahon
jmcmahonztown
Update:
The rule is very specific, but like all rules, they can be interpreted differently according to the situation.
ANDREW REDINGTONAFP

It’s happened to all of us on the green. You hit a putt that is dangling on the lip of the cup and just refuses to drop. You know that sooner or later it’s going to fall, but how long are you allowed to wait to see if if end up in the bottom of the cup?

10 seconds. Rule 13.3a determines that this is the time allotted for a player to reach the ball. Now, just like we’ve seen with Lee Hodge’s putt on Saturday at the 2023 PGA Championship, you and your playing partners might have a different idea about what ‘reasonable’ means. Jordan Spieth was a good friend and encouraged Hodge to take his time.

Because, there’s nothing more annoying than having to use a stroke to knock in a putt from ½ inch, right? That’s what Woo Kim thought too and he waited more than 60 seconds before the ball dropped. He didn’t get away with it and had to add a stroke to his scorecard at the end of his round.

So, now you know. No reason to sprint up to that ball, but 10 seconds can be counted out differently, depending on who you’re playing with. I can think of some guys who would be glad to let me wait a little longer, but there’s always the one who would take out the stopwatch if necessary.