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Harbour Town Golf Links



Tough Breaks

Players Championship: Austin Eckroat gets penalized for waiting too long for his putt to drop (Wait, what?!)

March 17, 2024
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You know it's a tough day when even your birdies don't count as birdies.

Such was the (strange) case for Austin Eckroat on Sunday at the Players Championship. The recent PGA Tour winner was struggling when he arrived at the par-5 11th hole, but looked like he'd pick up a birdie when his 20-footer started curling behind the cup.

Eckroat's ball stopped and literally hung over the edge, but it had to drop, right? Eventually? Well, yes. So what was the problem for Eckroat? It took too long to do so.

According to the rules of golf, a player can only wait 10 seconds for a putt to drop once they get to their golf ball. And they're not allowed to purposely delay getting to their ball to give it more of a chance. So while Eckroat's putt wound up in the hole, the time police made him add a penalty stroke.

Have a look at the entire situation, which even included Eckroat getting a little help from playing partner Joel Dahmen. And, by our count, it took about 25 seconds once Eckroat got near his ball, or about 15 seconds too long:

That's a tough break. And a disappointing par. Here's how the play-by-play looked on the PGA Tour's leaderboard with "Shot 5," Eckroat's final shot of the hole, being a "penalty."

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You don't see that every day. Anyway, good to know the next time that happens to you or one of your playing partners. Actually, more if it happens to one of your playing partners. Make sure to get your stopwatch out quick!