AKRON, Ohio -- U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen was disqualified from the NEC World Series of Golf today after a television viewer called to point out that Janzen waited too long for his birdie putt to finally drop on the 17th hole in the first round.
PGA Tour officials agreed with the anonymous caller and disqualified Janzen for signing an incorrect scorecard Thursday since he failed to add a penalty stroke for his delay.
Janzen hit his second shot on the par-4 17th hole to 7 feet. His birdie putt stopped on the lip, with the ball hanging on the edge of the cup.
Janzen walked to the hole, bent down to survey the ball and shook his head as the ball sat poised on the edge. He then looked to playing partner Vijay Singh, who also bent down to see what was keeping the ball out.
After at least 20 seconds, and just as Janzen took a step toward the hole to tap the ball in, it fell into the cup while the crowd roared and he laughed.
One hole later, Janzen signed his scorecard for a 78 that left him 43rd in the 44-player field. He took a 3 on the 17th hole when he should have taken a 4 because of the penalty stroke, according to PGA Tour officials. Janzen did not consult a rules official prior to signing his card.
The TV viewer called the officials shortly before the telecast went off the air at 6 p.m. After replays were shown, there were several more calls from viewers.
Even with the disqualification, Janzen still will get the unofficial last-place money of $18,475.
ESPN timed Janzen at 27 seconds, while tour officials said they had "liberally" estimated the time at 20 seconds.
Rule 16-2 of the Rules of Golf stipulates that "when any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without reasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest."
In a statement issued through the tour, Janzen said, "I had no intentions of breaking any rule. One of the things I think that is great about golf is rules are there to help. Strange things happen on the course sometimes and this was one of them."
Janzen said he believed the ball was still moving. Players are not permitted to strike a ball that is still moving, which is covered under Rule 19. However, Rule 16-2 supercedes that rule.
"After 10 seconds, the ball is considered at rest, whether it is or not," PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell said.
Tour officials met with Janzen and his wife Beverly this morning.
"He was, first of all, saying, 'Guys, what'd I do wrong?"' Russell said. "We had called him in and he defended himself. At first he didn't think he did anything wrong. Once he looked at the tape -- and we had a stopwatch -- he understood what he did wrong."
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