Si Woo Kim is making more news with his putting.
A week after he damaged his putter in frustration at the Masters and had to finish his second round by using his 3-wood on the greens, Kim made headlines in a different way on Saturday at RBC Heritage. Despite Kim appearing to hole a birdie putt from off the putting surface at Harbour Town’s par-4 third hole, a rules official penalized Kim one stroke after Kim’s ball dangled on the edge of the hole for over a minute before falling.
Per Rule 13.3a of the Rules of Golf, “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.”
As Kim’s group discussed the matter with the official, Kim’s playing competitor, Matt Kuchar, argued on Kim’s behalf that Kim’s ball was still moving up until the point it dropped in the cup.
“It definitely exceeded time,” Kuchar told the official, “but as I go up there, I go, “This ball is moving.” You could tell it was moving. It took a long time … and it did fall in.”
“You can’t hit a moving ball, correct?” Kuchar added.
To which the official responded: “But in this situation the rules are modified because you could argue that there comes a point in time where we’ve got to play that golf ball, and that’s why we put that time limit on it.”
“Wow,” Kuchar responded again. “I was certain it was – certainly I’m wrong.”
Kim wrote down par on the hole and eventually shot even-par 71 to remain at 4 under.