How long can you wait for your putt to drop?

American PGA Tour player Scott Langley had good cause to wait for his putt to drop on the 16th hole at during his final round of the Memorial Tournament.

Langley’s 10-foot putt for birdie at the 16th at Muirfield Village skirted the hole and sat the edge of the back of the cup. Seemingly hanging in mid-air, Langley took his time to get to the hole and wait for it to fall in. Which it eventually did.

So how long can you wait for your ball to be deemed at rest? Rule 16-2 deals with this specifically.

16-2. Ball Overhanging Hole
When any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional ten seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole, it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke, and must add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole; otherwise, there is no penalty under this Rule.

Essentially, you are given 10 seconds from the time you reach your ball to see if it falls in or not. If it falls afterwards, you need to add one to your score.

When it comes to ‘unreasonable delay’ though, you could make a case for Langley taking a little too long. But given how slow some of these PGA Tour golfers play, it probably wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

2 thoughts on “How long can you wait for your putt to drop?

  • I watched this and had the stopwatch on him as well. Golf doesn’t need more rules but the ‘unreasonable delay’ part though is a gray area. Just change that to 5 seconds.

  • He should have been penalised – the unreasonable delay was more than unreasonable. These pros get all the breaks – they don’t shout ‘fore’; they don’t replace divots;they leave their balls next to the hole while a fellow competitor is chipping, etc., etc.


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