Monday, September 9, 2013

Ask Linda #718-Moving ball removed from cup

Linda, I often see golfers hit short putts (say less than a foot or two) into the hole and almost immediately reach in and grab the ball out of the cup. It is very unlikely that the ball has stopped moving in the cup. Is touching a moving ball within the cup a breach of the rules? If so, what is the penalty, and how should it be handled?

- Thanks,

Dear Lou,

There is no penalty and the ball is holed.

While the Definition of “Holed” states that the ball must be at rest to be considered “holed,” it doesn’t really mean “at rest.” (I will refrain from making a snide comment about the Rules here.) The words “at rest” are there to make it clear that a ball that falls below the lip of the hole and then bounces out is not holed.

If a player picks the ball up out of the hole while it is still rattling around in the bottom, there is no penalty and the ball is holed [Decision 16/5.5].

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