Have you ever had your ball sit on the edge of a hole hoping it would drop? This probably happens about 5 times a year and those few seconds of anticipation can be filled with elation or sorrow. I am not sure if you know, but there is a rule in golf that outlines the process or procedure you follow when waiting for your ball to drop. To highlight my point, Si Woo Kim lived this scenario recently and I think we should see what happened because I do not agree with the ruling!
To understand rule 13.3 – Ball Overhanging Hole, (Old rules 16.2) the follow text is directly from the rule book:
13.3a Waiting Time to See If Ball Overhanging Hole Will Fall into Hole
If any part of a player’s ball overhangs the lip of the hole:
- The player is allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and ten more seconds to wait to see whether the ball will fall into the hole.
- If the ball falls into the hole in this waiting time, the player has holed out with the previous stroke.
- If the ball does not fall into the hole in this waiting time:
- The ball is treated as being at rest.
- If the ball then falls into the hole before it is played, the player has holed out with the previous stroke, but gets one penalty stroke added to the score for the hole.
Here is my reasoning for not agreeing with the rule. When Si Woo Kim arrived at his ball, it took approximately 42 seconds to fall in the hole. This is obviously a breach of rule 13.3a. However, if you listen to Matt Kuchar, he swears that the ball continued to move, every so slightly, for the duration of the 42 seconds until it dropped. Therefore, I conclude that if the ball is still in motion, whether over the lip or not, then the ball is still in play regardless of where it is located on the green. Kuchar even mentions this and the rules official said that Kuchar’s interpretation was incorrect.
I would counter the rules official by saying that if the ball was not over the hole and as Si Woo Kim approached his ball, he would wait until his ball came to a complete stop. I do not see why they differentiate this playing condition just because if is over the hole. I understand that ‘speed of play’ is important (another aspect of this rule), but in this case Kim’s opponent advocated that the ball was still in motion so they had to wait for the ball to come to a complete stop.
Additionally, none of the players or caddies did anything to influence the ball. Thus the ball was still moving under its own momentum.
If I was playing in a tournament and we discussed this rule, I would have counted the birdie and not awarded an extra stroke. I believe that because the ball was in motion, it needs to come to rest under its own before the next stroke would be played.
I think a the line in rule 13.3a should be modified to read “The player is allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and once the ball has come to a complete stop has ten more seconds to wait to see whether the ball will fall into the hole. This small wording change would eliminate all confusion for this rule.
What do you think? Should Si Woo Kim have been assessed a penalty stroke for waiting for is ball to drop?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!