Golf fans question Rose Zhang's drop en route to debut LPGA Tour win

Golf fans divided after seeing how Rose Zhang took a drop en route to making LPGA Tour history. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 5 Jun 2023
Golf fans question Rose Zhang's drop en route to debut LPGA Tour win

Golf fans have been debating the legality of how Rose Zhang took a drop en route to winning the Mizuho Americas Open on her LPGA Tour pro debut. 

Zhang, 20, made par on the second extra hole in a playoff over Jennifer Kupcho to become the first player since Beverly Hanson in 1951 to win an LPGA Tour event on their professional debut. 

She also becomes the first player to win an NCAA division one individual title and an LPGA Tour event in the same year. 


But there was one controversial moment. 

While we are taking nothing away from her maiden pro win here at GolfMagic, it would seem there are a number of golf fans out there on social media who are angered by how Zhang went about taking a drop in the rough in the final round. 

It surrounded the way Zhang bent down and then dropped her ball from 'knee-height' as per the USGA's recent new procedure for dropping a golf ball.

Previously, as many of you will know out on the golf course, players would take a drop from 'shoulder-height'. 

But that is no longer the case. You have to drop the ball from the height of your knees. 

We'll let you debate if this drop was really from the height of Zhang's knees: 

Here's what a number of golf fans think. 

There was a fairly mixed response: 

Here's the knee-height rule in full as per the USGA Rule hand book: 

New Rule: Players continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure is changed in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3:

  • How a ball may be dropped is simplified; the only requirement is that the ball be let go from knee height so that it falls through the air and does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground.

Reasons for Change:

The new procedure lowers the height from which the ball is dropped to increase the chance that it stays within the relief area.

Requiring the player to drop a ball (as opposed to placing it) retains a desired randomness about where the ball ends up:

  • The player has no guarantee that the ball will come to rest on a desired spot or in a good lie.
  • This is especially the case when a ball is dropped in more difficult conditions such as thick rough or longer grass.

Allowing the player to drop a ball from knee height helps to limit the extent to which a ball will embed in sand in a bunker.

What do you make of Zhang's drop? What do you make of the 'knee-height' rule in general for dropping a golf ball? Was there any need to change the rule in the first place? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels.