Rules Guy: Was Tiger Woods robbed of a hole-out? Here’s why it didn’t count

January 28, 2020


The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

On Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger Woods hit an approach shot that briefly bounced into the hole for an eagle, then bounced out. Since the ball did enter the hole — albeit briefly — why didn’t it count for eagle?

The Rules of Golf are very specific about situations like this, which are actually more common than you might think. According to a USGA post on this very topic, a ball is not considered holed “until it is both at rest within the circumference of the hole and the entire ball is below the level of the lip.”

So in Woods’ case, though his ball was in fact very briefly within the circumference of the hole and below the level of the lip, it was not considered fully at rest until it bounced out, so his otherwise masterful shot unfortunately doesn’t count as holed.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to rulesguy@golf.com. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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