Rules Guy: What do you do when a stuck flagstick prevents your putt from going in?

November 26, 2019

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.

While preparing for a long putt, you ask for the flag to be tended — but it won’t pull out of the cup as the ball approaches the hole! In the first scenario, your ball strikes the pin and goes in; in the second, it hits the pin and stays out. Given that you wanted the pin out and the new-for-2019 Rules, are there penalties or replayed strokes involved in either case, or is it just “play it as it lies”? —BOB GOWERS, VIA E-MAIL 

The dreaded stuck stick! Like 1-irons and plus-fours, you just don’t see people tending the flag anymore, since there is no longer a penalty for a ball played from the green hitting the pin.

Anachronistic though the situation may be, under Rule 13.2b the ball-pin collision is considered accidental in both instances with no penalty, and you, indeed, play the ball as it lies.

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