Ball overhanging lip of the hole: Birdie or no birdie to Clement Sordet?

Hi all.

I think you should see this video from earlier this year at the European Tour:

Clement Sordet was putting for a birdie… but did he get the birdie or did he not?

The Rules of Golf (Rule 13.3a) states this:

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.

So the big question is, what “a reasonable time” is.

Interpretation 13.3a/1 states this:

Determining the limits of a reasonable time to reach the hole depends on the circumstances of the stroke and includes time for a player’s natural or spontaneous reaction to the ball not going into the hole.

How long can this reaction time be? That is not determined.

Probably Sordet’s reaction time is considered “reasonable”. Therefore the 10 seconds started when he reached the hole, and since the ball fell into the hole a few seconds after, it was holed without penalty – thus he got his birdie.

If a reaction time is not reasonable, the 10 seconds starts after what is considered a “reasonable time”.

/Brian

2 Comments
  1. Dagbone says

    I think there’s room for improvement in this Rule. I recognize that the Rule must allow for the situation where the player may achieve “overhang” with an approach shot, in which case the player must have the ability to transit to the hole before the 10-second clock starts. I would suggest the following:

    Once the player perceives that his or her ball is overhanging the hole, the player has ten more seconds to wait to see whether the ball will fall into the hole.

  2. Mike Ritter says

    after watching the video, and having officiated maybe 75 tourneys, there was nothing wrong with this. He putted, looked at the putt from where he stood. He then walked to his ball. Nothing unusual. Then within seconds the ball fell. Had he stepped away, looked at, that easily would have been over 10 seconds. But in this case, ball is holed, no penalty.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.