Question: - Can a player verbally declare his ball lost?
Answer: - NO.
A player may not render a ball lost solely by declaration. A ball can only be considered lost when .a) It is not found within five minutes from the start of the search.
b) The player has made a stroke at a substitute ball.
c) The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be lost or from a point nearer the hole than that place
d) The player has dropped a ball under rule 27-1
Example: - If whilst searching for a ball, the player walks back towards the tee and his ball is then found (within 5 minutes), can he play the ball or by walking back to the tee has he declared it lost. Yes, he can play the ball as a player can not verbally declare a ball lost.