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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 Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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

Photos from the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge

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GolfWRX was on site this week at famed Colonial Country Club ahead of the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

No doubt the most interesting gallery this week is the one showcasing Ben Hogan’s personal prototype golf clubs. From a proto-hybrid, to a metalwood crafted a decade before the Pittsburgh Persimmon, to an iron with wavy grooves, you’ll want to check out these incredible photos.

In addition to a look at some of Mr. Hogan’s wares, we have 11 WITB collections for you to browse as well as six general galleries from Colonial.

Check out links to all our photos from Hogan’s Alley, below and see what our members are saying in the forums.

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Jack Nicklaus is being sued by his own company

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82-year-old golf legend Jack Nicklaus is being sued by his own company.

Just a week ago, reports revealed that the 18-time Major champion was the initial target, before Greg Norman, for the Saudi Golf League, and now Sports Illustrated disclosed that Nicklaus Companies have sued GBI Investors Inc. and Jack W. Nicklaus for failing “to live up to or has worked against the company directly.”

According to the summons, the “defendants (GBI and principle investor Nicklaus) are reneging on a deal worth more than $145 million, in which they agreed to transfer the exclusive rights to valuable intellectual property and services. Despite being paid an enormous sum, Defendants have wrongfully continued to use these rights, acted in bad faith, wrongfully diverted opportunities to the detriment of Plaintiff’s business.”

As stated by the summons, there are several complaints to answer, including wrongfully declaring that he (Nicklaus) still retains ownership of his “golf design services and commercial endorsements – the core businesses sold by GBI to the Company in 2007.”

The 39-page document also alleges a “direct contravention of Nicklaus’ Companies’ exclusive rights to the Nicklaus IP” after the Golden Bear had agreed to make promotional appearances at the Soudal Open, a recent event on the DP World Tour.

”Although Nicklaus Companies had been told that Mr Nicklaus was considering attending the Soudal Open as a guest, the Company was not informed of any request from the promoter of the event for an endorsement from Mr Nicklaus, any license for the promoter to use any of the Nicklaus IP to advertise or market the event, or any payment being solicited for Mr Nicklaus to provide his endorsement services or licence the Nicklaus IP.”

Further claims are that Nicklaus had not consulted with Nicklaus Companies over negotiations with a gaming company that was in the process of developing a video game based on The Masters and the Nicklaus image; that Nicklaus had risked the reputation of the company by associating himself with the Saudi-backed league over the PGA Tour and, that in 2021, “Nicklaus Companies learned that an agent of Mr Nicklaus in the Nicklaus Family Office had been negotiating with a national financial advisory group (‘Advisor’) with respect to a personal services agreement for Mr Nicklaus to market and promote the various services offered by Advisor and its affiliates—that would have meant no revenue for the Company.”

The Nicklaus Companies’ website lists New York business executive Howard Milstein as its executive chairman and Jack Nickalus II as the number two, and the six-time Masters winner responded to the board with a recent statement, stating, “The claims made by Howard Milstein are untrue. Our relationship has been a difficult one, at best. I have little doubt about the outcome, but I don’t intend to make this a public spectacle if it can be avoided.”

The plaintiffs responded with a plea for a harmonious settlement:

“We have great admiration and tremendous respect for Jack and his legacy and have tried everything to avoid taking this step. We are asking the court to sort out the legal responsibilities of the parties so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding going forward.”

“We are saddened to be put in a situation that now requires intervention from a court, but we have a responsibility to Nicklaus Companies and its employees, as well as to our customers and partners, to ensure that nothing disrupts the ongoing business of the company. We are confident that working together we can resolve this quickly and amicably.”

Depending on where and to whom the complaint was served, Nicklaus senior has between 20 and 30 days to “appear or answer” or else “judgement will be taken against you by default, in accordance with the complaint herein.”

 

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Thomas wins 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills

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Justin Thomas won the 2022 PGA Championship in a playoff. We’ll get to the trappings and the trimmings, but first, a nod to those who did not.

There is no epic poem yet written for golfers who come close, but have a place in history snatched from them by the unforgiving hand of fate. There is no Casey At The Bat for Jean Van de Velde, or Mike Donald, for Bob May, or Ed Sneed. Perhaps there is a quiet table with comfortable chairs, where the lighting isn’t so harsh that Scott Hoch, or Len Mattiace, or even Colin Montgomerie, has to shield his eyes from the blinding glare powered by the press, the fans, and the golfer’s own aspirations. They came so close, they had both hands nearly wrapped around one of golf’s fabled trophies, only to have their grasp loosened and the prize, spirited away.

Mito Pereira took an unwanted seat at that table this afternoon. He lost his final tee shot to the right, on the same hole that stole the US Open aspirations of Stewart Cink and Mark Brooks in 2001. Brooks had already won a major title at Valhalla, while Cink would drive a dagger through golf history in 2009, winning an Open championship at Tom Watson’s expense. History will reveal whether Pereira’s place at the banquet is a permanent one, or if he was just passing through, like the mysterious stranger he seemed for the majority of this week.

After Pereira’s closing six lowered his total from six-under to four-below, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris were left precious little time to wonder what had just happened. The two went off to the par-five 13th hole, to begin their aggregate overtime for the 104th PGA Championship. From there, they would proceed to the dramatic 17th and the diabolocial 18th. Both Zalatoris and Thomas had played the trio of holes in identical figures in regulation: 5-3-4. No knowledge nor supposition to be gained there.

It made perfect nonsense, then, that both would birdie the first playoff hole. On the second playoff hole, Thomas was able to make birdie after driving the green. Zalatoris was unable to match, and the 2017 PGA Championship winner marched to the third playoff tee with a one shot advantage. Zalatoris hit the drive that Pereira craved in regulation, but he was unable to find a second birdie to extend the extra session. Thomas was able to tap in for par and earn a second PGA Championship.

How did everyone get here, and what ultimately got the job done for Thomas? Let’s begin with the second question, which might shed some light on the first. It’s the greatest of ironies that the week that should have belonged to Phil Mickelson, the defending champion, instead became a validation of the prowess of his former looper. Professional caddies are equivalent to goaltenders in the National Hockey League. If you find yourself a great one, you can ride into the playoffs. If you stumble onto a legendary one, you might skate around the rink with a Stanley Cup.

Justin Thomas’ wisest career move was securing the services of Jim “Bones” Mackay. Thomas is a world-class talent, but having a hall-of-fame jock shouldering the bag and assisting with the decisions, suggests an even greater chance at success. How did Thomas post three-under par over his final nine holes on Sunday, to set a clubhouse bar? Let’s just say that Bones had a bit to do with it. Is this an indictment of the porters who work for Zalitoris, Pereira, and Young? Absolutely not. It’s an affirmation that Bones really is a difference-maker.

Mito Pereira did, sadly, what nearlys and almosts do. He found a way to add five strokes to par on Sunday, capped by his sorrowful finish. Cameron Young deserves credit for following his double at the 70th hole, with a birdie at the 71st. He came that close to joining Thomas and Zalatoris in the playoff. He now has a top-three finish in a major on his resume. Having grown up on the Sleepy Hollow Country Club course along the Hudson, Young will feel at home on the fairways of Brookline in June.

As for Zalatoris, he simply cannot come any closer to a victory nor a major championship. What he needs to find is the extra gear that allows him to follow birdies at three and four on Sunday with more birdies, not a pair of bogeys, as happened this time. Just like that, Zalatoris had gone from hunter to hunted; he has to remain the hunter until the 72nd green.

As for Thomas, talk will now move to whether he can evolve his game to manage a victory at one of the other three major championships. His wins at Quail Hollow and Southern Hills demonstrate an affinity for strong and classic layouts. That description fits the majority of courses on the major championship rotations, so the answer lies with him. For now, let’s celebrate a second major title for Justin Thomas.

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