Tony Finau uses golf rules to advantage on green at WGC Match Play

Social media reacts to Tony Finau's golf ball eventually being holed after spending 10 seconds on the edge of the cup...

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 26 Mar 2021

Tony Finau uses golf rules to advantage on green at WGC Match Play

Tony Finau used the golf rules to his advantage on day three of the WGC Match Play at Austin Country Club as he waited a "reasonable time" for his ball to eventually fall into the cup.

Despite already being out of the tournament having only taken half a point in his opening two matches, Finau had to play out proceedings by taking on US compatriot Jason Kokrak on Friday afternoon.



The big talking point on social media arose as early as the first hole when Finau sent his seven-foot birdie putt from left to right onto the back edge of the cup where it would remain for a good 10 seconds. 

Finau could not believe his ball had not fallen into the cup, and neither could the PGA Tour Live commentary team. 

The World No.13 then took a slow walk up to the cup while still in disbelief, and as one of the commentators encouraged the American to put his shadow over the hole, incredibly the ball fell into the cup for a birdie to move Finau 1 up in his match. 

Despite a number of comments on social media claiming Finau had taken "too long", and that it was also "his footsteps around the cup that made the ball go down", Finau was considered to have been well within his rights to take "reasonable time" under Rule 13.3 to approach his ball. 

Some golf fans questioned Finau should not have even put his shadow over the ball. What do you make of the incident? 

WATCH what happened in the video below:



The debate currently continues on social media...






Finau went on to win the match 2 up against Kokrak, however, South Africa's Dylan Frittelli was the only man in Group 12 to come away with 2 points and so he progressed to the knockout stages over the weekend. 

Here's more about the rule in question...

Rule 13.3 - Ball Overhanging Hole

a) Waiting Time to See If Ball Overhanging Hole Will Fall into Hole

If any part of a player’s ball overhangs the lip of the hole:

> The player is allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and 10 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.

b) What to Do If Ball Overhanging Hole Is Lifted or Moved Before Waiting Time Has Ended

If a ball overhanging the hole is lifted or moved before the waiting time under Rule 13.3a has ended, the ball is treated as having come to rest:

> The ball must be replaced on the lip of the hole (see Rule 14.2), and the waiting time under Rule 13.3a no longer applies to the ball (see Rule 9.3 for what to do if the replaced ball is then moved by natural forces). 


If the opponent in match play or another player in stroke play deliberately lifts or moves the player’s ball overhanging the hole before the waiting time has ended:

> In match play, the player’s ball is treated as holed with the previous stroke, and there is no penalty to the opponent under Rule 11.2b.
In stroke play, the player who lifted or moved the ball gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes). The ball must be replaced on the lip of the hole (see Rule 14.2).

Need more help with the rules of golf? Please visit the R&A website.