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Tour pro DQ’d from Honda Classic after his green-book was deemed too big under the new rules of golf

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While Thursday’s opening round of the Honda Classic saw Rickie Fowler poke some fun at the rules of golf in an amusing way, it also saw a disqualification which has the unfortunate title of being the first DQ of its kind since the updated rules of golf came in to play.

Alex Cejka is the professional in question, who was deemed to have been using a green-book which did not adhere to the new rules of golf. Cejka had been using last year’s green-book for the Honda Classic throughout the opening round, which contained larger scales of diagrams of the greens than are now allowed on the PGA Tour.

Following the DQ, PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware who informed Cejka of the decision after his 14th hole of the day, stated (per a Golfweek report)

“It was brought to the committee’s attention that Alex might possibly be using some old greens reading materials. Alex was basically using an old yardage book and old greens reading materials that did not fit the size to scale limit. He knew he was using an old book. He told me that. I don’t know that he was completely understanding of what the scale limits are.”

The issue was brought to Cejka’s attention by playing partner Cameron Tringale who noticed the old green-book which the 48-year-old was using, and the latter then called in an official.

Speaking after completing his round, Tringale said

“I saw it and told my caddie. I mentioned it to (Cejka) but was unfamiliar how exactly to proceed. I told the first official I saw what I had seen. I was perplexed. That doesn’t look right. Did I really see that? When we finished the 14th hole, I went to use the bathroom and when I came out I saw (Cejka) riding off in a cart.”

Interestingly, the green-reading book which Cejka had been using during the opening round detailed the greens of PGA National before they were re-vamped following last year’s Honda Classic.

Cejka was level par for his round, and before his DQ, the longest putt he made was from 8′ 6″ on his third hole of the day. Tringale and Palmer completed their opening round of the Honda Classic as a two ball, finishing their rounds one-under par and level par respectively.

 

 

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Dan Powers

    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    So the guy who made the report just happened to go to the bathroom when the rules official shows up? Riiiiiight.

  2. Seth Riser

    Mar 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    USGA has nothing better to do than turn golf courses into goat tracks and dream up goofy rules. That’s does it – I’m giving my tour card back.

  3. Brad

    Mar 1, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Hello PGA, it’s reality calling. Time to dump your decrepit and extremely out of touch friend the USGA. They are destroying you with their bad ideas and senile decision making. Save yourself before it’s too late…

  4. Tiger Noods

    Mar 1, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Another USGA farce.

    What should have happened is like all tournaments, they should provide a book. Every morning, they should provide a pin sheet. All players can work off of those books, because they are the size they are, and players don’t need to bring their own. In fact, on course, they should all be given a “standard”, and they all work from that if they choose.

    Personally, I’d like to see them have lasers so the caddies don’t have to do so much math.

  5. Terry Johnson

    Mar 1, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Pros are playing for so much money they have gotten slower and slower reading books of info,taking everything like wind,conditions,slope, grain,mountains. Eliminate books get electric caddies and let the players figure the conditions like the average golfer. All the aids these pros have today just slow the play down. Give the player a laser and a bag of clubs. Let them figure all this info out with the brain that god gave them and give them a set time to make a shot. Wake up.

  6. dixiedoc

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:52 am

    The rules are the rules. In any other sport when the rules are changed every professional is aware and either complies or is penalized. It doesn’t take long to read the new rules. If he or his caddie didn’t then they are the ones who are at fault not the USGA. Yes, it’s the USGA that makes the rules not the PGA so don’t blame them.

  7. Dave r

    Mar 1, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Why not just play golf? I used to watch golf on a Thursday to sun . Now I watch the highlights on sports net.the stuff that goes on the course is mind blowing. Yardage books ,green books, balls with lines, some players taking what seems like a month to figure out the wind , slope, elevation, uphill downhill, clouds going the wrong way, the grass is wet or dry. Now add in the new rules you lost me . Can’t wait for the highlites on sports net. These rules officials have ruined the game how about speeding up play there’s a thought you should discuss. When you do I’ll start to watch again, until then have a lovely day.

    • frank cichon

      Mar 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      I agree with you 100 per cent. I would like to see a Tour where the player can use range finders, but the first player has say 45 seconds to hit and the next 40. If you hit it off the fairway you get NO FREE RELIEF PERIOD. YOU HIT IT THERE, YOU PLAY IT! If winds are an issue Tough…same for everybody …rub of the green. Each group could have 2 scorers and time every player. No green books …..some guys take as long as 15 seconds just to pick up their marker because the LINE on the ball is not aligned right. Int is PAINFUL to watch. IF I watch any golf it is with my PVR…but your idea of just watching the sports on the 11 pm news has just saved me several hours per week .Thank!

      • bob carroll

        Mar 1, 2019 at 8:22 pm

        sounds like european golf.played the old course, foursome on every hole, your butt better be thru in 3 1/2 hours, no exceptions.

    • D

      Mar 1, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      Yeah but I bet you sit there on your fat arse watching 4 NFL matches on Sunday though, huh
      How many dumb rules does that game have? It still uses the yardage chain ffs

      • beer belly bob

        Mar 1, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        What is an NFL match? Is that something you watch while sipping tea and eating crumpets?

  8. JP

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:56 am

    And he pays his caddie how much? Shouldn’t he know the rule too?

  9. Joe

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Sue them under the ADA that he can’t use the new smaller books because he can’t read them… What a farce….

    • Mower

      Mar 1, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      I had to re-read that headline – what the actual f*$#@?
      The green-reading book is too big or it’s last year’s version… why is this a f*#[email protected] issue? Who needs to be punched in the face for making this a rule?

  10. dat

    Mar 1, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Incredibly stupid all around. Golf is becoming a real pain to watch on TV with all of these stupid rule changes. Constantly mentioning them, let alone the enforcement of them, is distracting from the actual game.

  11. Drew

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Why does information not have a place in the game?

    • Brian

      Mar 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      Because reading a green is supposed to be a skill. Mapping every contour of the green in a book should be outlawed.

  12. jeff

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Tringale the snitch

  13. Ray

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Pretty funny that what he was DQ’d for was a out of date green book since they changed the greens after last year’s Honda Open. How much did they change because it certainly shouldn’t have been helping him, right?

  14. Travis

    Mar 1, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Just be done with green books altogether. Be done with lines on the golf ball too for that matter. Green reading and aiming your putt (just like aiming all other shots in golf) should be a skill.

    On the greens is the most significant area of the game the USGA can speed up play for Pros and Ams.

    • aplynam

      Mar 1, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Let’s just do away with greens altogether and putt to a hole dug out with a spade by the “greens” keeper.

    • sal

      Mar 1, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      I agree, totally. Make the game pure again and speed it up before golf is gone.

  15. youraway

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

    The Rule on greens reading material should be even stronger and a good decision was rendered, he should receive a DQ penalty. Oh yes, a professional would’t want to actually understand the Rules of the game they play, would they?

  16. alexdub

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Classless move by Tringale, IMO. Turning in someone for such a minor (and new) infraction goes against the spirit of the rules of golf. This is not even remotely close to something that you “call in an official” for. Let the round complete and talk to the committee afterwards if you’re that bent up about it.

  17. DB

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

    This is actually a good rule change. Tired of seeing players unfold their intricately detailed green-reading map before making a putt. Study that stuff before the round if you want, but it has no place in actually playing the game. Glad they are enforcing this rule.

    • Joe

      Mar 1, 2019 at 10:54 am

      Serious question, I’d be curious if before the round started they could mark up a pin location sheet with slopes near the hole…

  18. Jerome

    Mar 1, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Tringale is a NARC!

    USGA rules are a joke!

    Warriors blew a 3-1 LEAD!

  19. Erik Morden

    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    This is just another example of the PGA worrying about small things like a caddy standing behind a player before he lines up for his shot or the distance a player drops a ball. Why are we not seeing stories about PGA officials clamping down on players that take a lifetime to take a shot? If they are so worried about these new rules why don’t we start enforcing the time limit rules?

    • kevin

      Mar 1, 2019 at 8:40 am

      having a caddie line up the player isn’t a small thing. it was a time waster and an awful look.

      dropping from knee height is dumb and an equally dumb look. i get the intent of the rule, and its still dumb. the difference in height will affect a handful of drops over the course of the season.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from Tuesday at the RBC Heritage – Part 1: The putting green

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This week, the PGA Tour is decompressing in Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, and GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers. The field of 134 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Armlock is building momentum on tour

We spotted both Henrik Norlander and, in a stunning twist, Kevin Kisner working with an armlock putter on the practice green at the RBC Heritage. Kisner is generally not one to switch, but it looks like based on the sideways grip, flat part aligned with the face, he’s taking a big cue from Bryson.

Fleetwood working with a new wand

Coming off a disappointing week at the Masters, it looks like Tommy is ready to try something new on the greens and by the looks of it, it’s shafted with an LA Golf graphite putter shaft.

So clean

Equipment free-agent Chris Kirk’s raw finished Odyssey prototype looks spectacular as its oilcan finish takes on a deeper patina.

It’s all about those drills

Practice is an important part of building consistency, and this drill sure does a lot for keeping everything locked in place.

On the level

There is no better way to work on hitting straight putts than making sure you are actually working on a level surface. This digital level proves that some of the best training devices can be found at your local hardware store.

That alignment is a ten out of ten

We spotted Callaway staffer Chase Seiffert working with an Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with a very unique set of sightline dots—the more the merrier.

Scotty Cameron appreciation

Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the classics, and this “bullet soled” blade is a thing of beauty. The closest thing to this in the retail market is the Coronado released in 2010—maybe we’ll see an updated version in the future?

Chicago’s finest

Kentucky native John Augenstein must be a big fan of Chicago, not the band, but golf companies that originate in the land of the Cubbies and da Bears. Not only is he sponsored by Wilson Staff, but he also has this lovely Bettinardi DASS (double aged stainless steel) custom in the bag with a LAGP graphite shaft (Bryson sure is rubbing off on people).

From Chicago to Texas

Speaking of custom putters, we also spotted this Edel blade being used along with one of the most simple training devices you will probably ever see—who said putting had to be hard?

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

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Hello, Hideki! Japan receives its second Augusta champion in eight days

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Hideki Matsuyama expressed great respect for the victory achieved last week by his countrywoman, Tsubasa Kajitani. Matsuyama understands well the bright-hot spotlight under which golfers from their country operate, and he has both benefitted from its warmth and felt its burn. Unlike Kajitani, Matsuyama entered the final round of this week’s Masters with a sizable lead, every reason to win and every opportunity to lose. Although he lost three of his four shots of advantage, Matsuyama held on to the one that mattered and became the first male major champion from Japan.

He did five things very well on Sunday, and we’re going to run them down for you in this summary of Masters Sunday, golf’s high holy day.

1. From Z to Z: In the beginning and the end, there was Zalatoris

By the time Hideki teed off, he had lost half of his lead. By the time he tapped in for bogey on the first green, he had given back one more shot. Young Will Zalatoris, Dallas native and former Wake Forest golfer, had started day four with a pair of birdies and had reached nine deep. Matsuyama addressed his ball on the second tee, knowing that momentum usually chose the chasers. He fearlessly ripped driver down the left-center of the fairway, giving him a look at the green in two. His approach was shy, in the sand, but his recovery was exquisite, and he converted the putt for a momentum-altering birdie. Zalatoris would play wise beyond his years, as he had all week, and would compel Matsuyama to make bogey at the last to preserve his margin of victory.

2. Make early birdies—and bounce back

Matsuyama followed his birdie at the second with a pair at eight and nine. He turned in 2 under par and opened up a needed gap as Zalatoris stabilized, and no others gave chase. Jon Rahm was making a move, and would ultimately shoot 66 to tie for fifth position. It wasn’t until he reached Golden Bell, the beguiling par-3 12th hole, that Matsuyama made another mistake. Fooled by the wind, he airmailed the green, landing in the rear bunker on the fly. He wisely played to the fringe, rather than risk a shot into Rae’s Creek. He took two putts for bogey but diverted the big number from his scorecard.

As he had done at the second, Matsuyama made a bounce-back birdie at the 13th. His drive was a bit right, and his approach went safely long and left. His surgical precision with a wedge brought his recovery pitch to a stop 18 inches from the hole. The birdie steadied his nerves, and he narrowly missed another birdie at the 14th. Although he would bogey three of his final four holes, double bogey or worse was never a possibility.

3. Hit greens and make putts—and avoid the sand

Over the course of four days, Hideki Matsuyama hit 13, 14, 12, and 11 greens in regulation. He saved his best putting for the weekend. averaging under 1.5 putts per green from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. When he missed a green, Matsuyama found a way to get the ball close for a saving putt, unless he found the sand. On the week, he was three of seven for sand saves. Granted, the miss at the 72nd hole wasn’t critical, but that still made him 50 percent. Given the size of Augusta National’s bunkers, and their placement, had he found more sand, Matsuyama might not be responsible for planning a dinner menu next April.

4. Ignore your playing partner (or, from X to X)

Did you think that Zalatoris was the only, late-alphabet challenger to Matsuyama? Playing partner Xander Schauffele made the day’s strongest run at the overnight leader. After moving from 7 under to 8 under at the second, the new X-Man imploded with bogey-bogey-double from the third to the fifth. As attention turned to other challengers, Schauffele regrouped and made birdies at seven and eight to re-enter the top 10.

As the back nine dawned for the final group, the Californian still wasn’t in the mix, until he chopped four more strokes off his score. Birdies at 12 through 15 brought him to 10-under par. Had he stayed there, he would have joined Matsuyama in a playoff. Alas, the winds of Berckman’s farm surged at the worst possible time, and Schaufele’s tee ball at the 16th ended up in Jones’ pond. Triple bogey ensued, and Schauffele finished in a tie for the third spot.

While the Xander firework show took place, Matsuyama persevered. In a hilarious video with Tiger, Jason Day, and Rory, teacher Hideki comments that “Japan is a modest culture, showing emotion and celebrating is not common.” Neither, it seems, is losing your cool and choking. Hideki simply didn’t choke.

5. When it’s your week, seize it

Unlike Justin Rose, who opened with 65 and never again broke par at the 2021 Masters, Matsuyama played his first three rounds under par, culminating with a pure 65 of his own. His third round was the only bogey-free round of the tournament until Jon Rahm matched him on Sunday. Matsuyama was on pace to join Zalatoris as the only golfers with four rounds under par until his late-round struggles resigned him to a closing 73.

What does all of that mean? It means that Hideki Matsuyama arrived in Georgia playing well. He parlayed his experience and his current form into a shot at the title, and then he simply out-played and out-witted the competition. Augusta National rarely reveals why a certain player won and a certain player did not. The results are what the history book says, so when your chance arrives, seize it. Like Tsubasa Kajitani had done eight days before, Hideki Matsuyama did on the second Sunday of April.

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5 things we learned Saturday at the Masters

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With the field reduced to 54, the question on most interested minds was, which Augusta National Golf Club would feature on Saturday? Would it be the frugal layout that gave fits to competitors on day one, or would the generous version from day two make a return appearance? If you asked Hideki Matsuyama, it was the latter. Pose the same question to Adam Scott or Cameron Champ, and the answer would differ markedly.

On Saturday, there was a bit of movement from the chasers, and a sense of protect what you have from the leaders. We learned a few things about the tournament, the course, and the competitors on day three, and we’re happy to share them with you here.

1. Billy Horschel backs down from nothing

Literally and figuratively. The Florida man ripped a 5-iron into Rae’s Creek on the 13th hole, but rather than take a penalty drop, Horschel doffed his shoes and socks, rolled up his Saturday whites, and waded on in. Well, sort of. First, he slid down the slope, and then he waded in. His recovery was clean and left him with a run at birdie. Despite the new splotch of Augusta green on his trousers, Horschel made bogey at the 14th, but closed with three birdies over his final five holes, to finish at 4 over. Horschel won’t win the tournament this year, but we’ll remember his plus-fours for quite some time.

2. Hideki pulled a Justin

No sense in waiting until point number five, to discuss the round of the day. Hideki Matsuyama has often been mentioned with Jumbo Ozaki, Ryo Ishikawa, Isao Aoki, and Shingo Katayama as a prime Japanese candidate to break that country’s male major championship winless streak. Matsuyama began day three at 4 under, three shots behind leader Justin Rose. Matsuyama drew on two memories on Saturday to move rapidly up the leader board on the inward half. His low amateur prize of 2011 reminded him of his previous success at Augusta National. More recently, countrywoman Tsubasa Kajitani raised the champion’s trophy last week at the same course, after winning the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Matsuyama began his march toward the top spot with a birdie at the seventh hole. Despite his length, he was unable to make four at either of the front nine par-5 holes. On the inward half, Matsuyama posted birdies at 11, 12, 16 and 17, and put the icing on the 65 cake with eagle at the 15th. Thanks to his 65, Matsuyama will play in the final group on Sunday with Xander Schauffele, who closed quickly as well. Will he bring a major title of his own to the Pacific island nation? This time tomorrow, we will know.

3. Xander and Conners post 68s to move into top six

If you took Corey Conners front nine, and paired it with Xander Schauffele’s back nine, you’d have a Hideki. Conners began play at 2 under par, and moved to minus six after the day’s fourth birdie on the 9th hole. The young Canadian dropped back with bogey at 10 and 14 but rebounded quickly with birdies at 15 and 17 to return to six-under. It might be premature to cast Conners as a dark horse for Sunday, but should his penchant for dropping birdies check in on day four, a Maple Leaf might don a green jacket for the second time in the storied event’s history.

Xander Schauffele finds himself exactly where he wants to be. The California native backs down from no competition, and thanks to a strong inward half, he arranged a final-group pairing with Matsuyama. Schauffele began the day at 3 under and improved by one shot by the end of the first nine. The 2017 Tour Championship winner feasted on the long holes coming home with birdie at 13 and an eagle of his own at 15.

4. Zalatoris and Rose stay in contention

The hardest task in championship golf is to build a lead into a bigger lead. Tiger Woods spoiled many of us with his ability to do that. The second-most difficult thing to achieve is to preserve your position, with all the distractions and pressure. Justin Rose and Will Zalatoris began day three at 7 and 6 under par, respectively. Rose began the day with determination, making birdie at the first two holes. He gave those shots back at four and five, and played a bit of back-and-forth over the next 13 holes. He ended the day at even-par 72, to remain in the chase at 7 under. Was it disappointing? For a player of Rose’s stature and record, yes. Can he bookend his Thursday 65 with another on Sunday? Probably not.

Will Zalatoris came into the final pairing on Saturday in a decidedly different position from Rose. Zalatoris made his name on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 and has made the jump to the PGA Tour with unexpected success. The young Texan began the day at 6 under and improved by one stroke by day’s end. Zalatoris had four birdies against three bogeys and once again avoided the big number that derails so many dreams. The former Wake Forest golfer will tee off with Conners in the third-last pairing on Sunday. Being a bit out of the limelight might serve him well, and don’t be surprised if he becomes the first Masters rookie since Fuzzy Zoeller to wear green on Sunday.

5. And the winner will be…

If you haven’t realized it by now, we don’t pick winners well. We tapped Brian Harman after round two, and the Georgia Bulldog shot 2 over par on day three. We have abandoned the lefty, and are going with a player we haven’t mentioned yet. He’s tall, dark, and Australian, and the word on all the tours is that Marc Leishman is so much better than his record indicates. We think that the real Marc Leishman stands tall on Sunday and moves past Matsuyama and all the rest to become the first Aussie since Adam Scott to win the title.

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