A painful lesson: Waiting for the putt to drop

Golf can feel cruel when the ball hangs on the lip of the hole. It's even more so when a penalty's involved.
Nobody likes to see their golf ball stop on the lip of the cup.

It's one of the worst feelings in golf ... watching, waiting, hoping that the ball hanging on the lip of the cup will drop.

It almost never does. But like the game itself, hope breeds eternal. We can all commiserate with PGA Tour pro Seonghyeon Kim.

Kim made headlines over the weekend for what looked like a violent lipout for birdie on the par-5 18th hole during Sunday's final round at the CJ Cup @ Summit in Las Vegas. What makes Kim's story so unique is his ball actually dropped.

And then the real drama begins. After signing his card, Kim was informed that he had violated Rule 13.3a, which states: "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."

Because he waited more than 25 seconds before the ball fell in, Kim was given a one-stroke penalty. Thankfully, an exception to Rule 3:3 let him escape without being disqualified for signing an improper scorecard. The penalty caused him to drop into a tie for 32nd and cost him $17,000 in winnings.

This isn't the first time this rule has come under scrutiny. Just last year Rafa Cabrera-Bello was awarded his birdie after a long wait at the Wyndham Championship in 2020.

What can we all learn from this situation? In fairness to players in your group and the group behind, it's probably okay to slowplay your walk to the ball and then count in a slow drawl, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc. all the way to 10.

But if your antics take more than 15-18 seconds, it's time to tap the ball in. No jumping up and down on the green. No shouting at the ball to "Go to Your Home!" No waving the putter over the ball to create some wind. The golf gods will ultimately decide your fate in due time.

How do you handle a ball hanging on the lip? Any funny stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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A painful lesson: Waiting for the putt to drop