Zach Johnson penalized shot due to 10-second rule

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Johnson penalized shot due to 10-second rule

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Zach Johnson penalized shot due to 10-second rule

A matter of seconds cost Zach Johnson a shot on Friday.

An 18-foot birdie putt at TPC River Highlands’ par-4 third (Johnson’s 12th) during the second round of the Travelers Championship saw Johnson’s ball finish right on the lip.

As Rule 16-2 notes, when a ball overhangs the lip a player is allowed time to reach the hole without “unreasonable delay” and an additional 10 seconds to determine if the ball is at rest. If the ball falls in the hole in that timespan, the player is deemed to have holed out with the putt and is given that score.

But if the ball falls in the hole after that unreasonable delay + 10-second timespan, a player must add a penalty shot to his score.

In essence, Johnson would’ve made a birdie if his ball hanging on the lip dropped within that timespan. But if it fell in after that timespan, his birdie would turn into a par due to a one-shot penalty.

The latter scenario is exactly what happened.

As it turned out, Johnson was deemed to have taken 16-18 additional seconds. That’s well north of the 10-second standard in the rule.

Per Golf Channel’s Will Gray, the rule was explained further by PGA Tour vice president of rules and competitions Mark Russell.

“Once he putts the ball, he’s got a reasonable amount of time to reach the hole,” Russell said, via Gray. “Then once he reaches the hole, he’s got 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, the ball is deemed to be at rest.”

Johnson, who fired a 2-under 68 and found himself one off the lead entering Saturday, explained his thoughts on the situation, too.

“The 10-second rule has always been there. Vague to some degree,” Johnson said. “The bottom line is I went to tap it in after 10 seconds and the ball was moving. At that point, even if the ball is moving, it’s deemed to be at rest because it’s on the lip. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just the way it is.”

Johnson wasn’t trying to incur a penalty, it’s just a delicate rule. With the Iowan in contention, though, he may wish he had better fortune and his ball had fallen in the cup in time for it to count as a birdie.

That one stroke could mean a huge deal come Sunday.

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