What Happens If You Miss Your Tee Time?

If you're within five minutes you'll get away with just a penalty. Any longer and it's a DQ...

What Happens If You Miss Your Tee Time
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're within five minutes you'll get away with just a penalty. Any longer and it's a DQ...

What Happens If You Miss Your Tee Time?

In the opening round of the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship, Paul Casey almost missed his tee time after believing it was 10 minutes later than what it actually was.

The Englishman thought he was off at 10.37am when in fact his tee time was actually 10.27am.

Luckily for Casey, thanks to some running, he just about made the time and then proceeded to birdie the opening hole.

But what happens if a player does miss their tee time?

Rule 5.3a states that golfers must tee off at the exact time of their allotted tee time, no earlier or no later.

If a golfer tees off less than five minutes early, they receive a general penalty, which is two strokes.

It is the same if a golfer tees off less than five minutes later, too.

However, if a golfer tees off more than five minutes earlier or later than the allotted tee time, the player is disqualified.

The general penalty in match play is a loss of hole, so if your opponent arrives to the tee a couple of minutes late or even tees off slightly early from your allotted time, you can consider yourself 1-up.

This nearly happened at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah when Rory McIlroy had to receive a police escort to the course.

What Happens If Your Miss Your Tee Time

The Northern Irishman thought he was out an hour later due to TV broadcasts stating he was off at 12.25pm when he was actually off an hour earlier.

Thet TV broadcasts were correct, but Rory didn't realise they were stating the time in Eastern Time, not Chicago's Central Time.

It resulted quite well for him in the end, as he beat Keegan Bradley to help inspire the 'Miracle at Medinah', a stunning comeback for Team Europe from 10-6 down.

He also met his future wife Erica Stoll thanks to that mix up, as she was the PGA of America employee who helped him make the tee time.

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x