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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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Report: PGA Tour set to ban green-reading books

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The PGA Tour is on the verge of banning green reading books as early as this year, according to a report from GolfWeek’s Eamon Lynch.

Per the report, the Players Advisory Committee voted “overwhelmingly” to ban the books at a meeting during the Memorial Tournament a fortnight ago. The onus is now on the PGA Tour Board, who will vote on whether to ban the aid or not.

Green reading books are one of the most popular aids on tour, with the vast majority of tour pros using them on the greens. However, critics of the aid have often commented that the books take the art and skill of putting away, with others believing they lead to slow play.

Augusta National Golf Club is currently the only club that bans the books, which is brought up each time the club hosts the Masters.

Per the report, The Players Advisory Council met at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Tuesday, June 1 where they voted overwhelmingly to ban the books. The PAC is currently chaired by Rory McIlroy and includes Justin Thomas, Billy Horschel and Zach Johnson.

One player who was at the meeting is firmly in favor of the ban and told Lynch: “It was overwhelming. It wasn’t close. The books should be banned. Green reading is a skill to be learned.”

Before this week’s U.S. Open, Rory Mcilroy told media at Torrey Pines:

“Everything that’s talked about in those meetings is somewhat confidential, but what I can say, I think — I use a greens book, and I’d like to get rid of them.

I think everyone is in the same boat, most guys on tour are in the same boat, that if it’s going to be available to us and it helps us, people are going to use it, but I think for the greater good of the game, I’d like to see them be outlawed and for them not to be used anymore.”

Should the PGA Tour vote to outlaw the books, the ban should come into effect at the beginning of the 2021/22 PGA Tour season later this year.

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Equipment

U.S. Open Tour Truck Report: #7woodSZN, mini drivers, fresh grooves, and tinkering

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A nearly 7,700-yard, par-71 track featuring penal rough off the fairway and green, Torrey Pines’ South Course presents a difficult, demanding examination for players at this week’s U.S. Open. From every television, computer, and mobile device screen this truth is being conveyed to the point that, as is often the case in the leadup to U.S. Opens, a certain fatigue sets in.

However, it’s worth pointing to the obvious in order to highlight the fact that some players are making changes to their setups to accommodate the long approaches into par-4s and the need to maximize descent angle into — what are expected to be — thoroughly baked out greens.

Additionally, we’re hearing a ton of players are putting 7-woods in play primarily for the purpose of advancing the ball from the rough — not exactly “a get out of jail free” card, but hopefully a key to slip out of one’s cell.

Let’s get into the specifics.

Titleist

Jordan Spieth is testing a 21-degree TSi2 fairway wood, which is a game-time decision to add to the lineup in place of his 818 H2 hybrid.

Both Lanto Griffin and Matt Jones are adding TSi2 (21-degree) fairway woods in place of their utility irons.

Adam Scott is going with four woods this week. He’s adding a 13.5-degree TSi2 fairway wood. The Australian is also putting a Vokey 60A wedge in play (switching from a 60-06K). With four degrees of bounce, the wedge works well on tight lies.

Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck: “The rough is really, really difficult this week. And the greens are starting to firm up. So we have a lot of players evaluating TSi fairway wood options. The TSi 21-degree 7-wood has been very popular. Players are really liking what it does out of the rough and then into the greens – really high launch angle and landing very softly has been really effective.”

Max Homa put a new Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5, which is a similar profile to the 11.5 model he played earlier in the year. Homa likes the feel, forgiveness, and ease of alignment in the smaller profile.

Vokey

Not surprisingly, the majority of players asking for fresh grooves this week.

Vokey Tour Rep Aaron Dill on wedges this week: “This golf course is a beast. As you would imagine, rough is long and thick, but it’s a really cool different style of golf course where you’ve got a couple different types of grasses and just the way they put it together, it makes it extremely challenging. Because of this rough, because of the fairways, because of the greens, you would think that you’d want a little bit more bounce because of just how juicy and thick and healthy this rough is. But the reality is the more bounce you get, the slower it moves through that tall grass.”

“And so we see a lot of guys gravitate to something with less bounce: T grinds, A Grinds, L Grinds, Low-bounce K’s. Adam Scott switched to a 60A this week. He dabbled a little bit with it at Augusta National this year, but this is that week where it really fits the conditions. He wants that speed. He wants that comfort. He wants to be aggressive, so it’s great fit for him. Guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth are bringing in fresh 60’s this week. So these guys are prepared. They’re ready to go. But again, very difficult golf course. You’ve got to have fresh grooves and you’ve got to have a little bit less bounced to maneuver through this tall grass.”

(Photo via Titleist)

Callaway

Phil Mickelson was spotted with a TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver (Fujikura Ventus Black shaft) in practice rounds. He’s also reportedly testing a 5-wood with a Fujikura Ventus Red 9 X shaft.

Akshay Bhatia is testing a Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft in an Epic Max LS driver.

Patrick Rodgers is testing a Callaway Epic Speed 7-wood (Graphite Design Tour AD DI 9 TX).

Henrik Stenson has new Jaws MD5 Slate wedges in the bag (52-10S, 58-08C).

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

TaylorMade

Dustin Johnson looks to be returning to a TaylorMade TP Bandon putter (now outfitted with an LA Golf shaft) after rolling it with his Spider IB Limited at the Palmetto Championship. He’s sticking with the prototype LA Golf shaft in his driver, which makes sense, considering he now owns part of the company.

Ping

Reportedly “half of the tour staff” are putting 7-woods in play, according to our source at Ping. Bubba Watson and Mackenzie Hughes included.

Watson’s 7-wood specs: Ping G425 Max (23.5 degrees). 40.5-inch Fujikura Black 9 X shaft in custom pink (tipped 2 inches, D2+).

Cole Hammer is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD HD 7 TX shaft in his driver.

Others, free agents

Hideki Matsuyama is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD UB 9 X shaft in a SIM2 Max 3-wood.

Rikuya Hoshino is testing Graphite Design Tour AD UB 9 X in a Srixon ZX5 driver.

Shane Lowry has a new Cleveland RTX Full-Face 58-degree wedge in play.

Zack Sucher is putting a 16-degree Srixon ZX hybrid in play.

The king of stout shafts, Jhonny Vegas is testing a Fujikura Ventus Black 100 X shaft in his 5-wood.

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Tour Rundown: Higgo crosses pond to claim initial PGA Tour title, Castren latest to claim first LPGA win

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This particular weekend was unique, sandwiched between two U.S. Open championships, and it was filled with events. There was much newness across the tournament board as the PGA Tour visited a new venue in South Carolina. The European Tour matched women and men in one event in Sweden, and the Forme Tour held its final qualifying school in anticipation of its season opener in two weeks.

June is a popular month for weddings, so the something new is, well, nothing new. On those notes, let’s track down what we know and what we learned in this week’s Tour Rundown on GolfWRX.

PGA Tour: Higgo crosses pond to claim initial Tour title

Last week, we watched helplessly as Lexi Thompson gave up a lead in her stretch run at the U.S. Women’s Open. This week, we had more of the same at the inaugural Palmetto Championship. Chesson Hadley came back in the morning for two shots in his delayed third round but took three. After hitting a marvelous approach into the last, he missed a wee birdie attempt and signed for par. Ominous? Sure, if you believe in portends and things of that ilk.

Hadley began the fourth round with a four-shot advantage, but the day’s play was never consistent for him. Two bogeys and a birdie had him out in plus one, and another bogey at 10 took him higher. He rebounded two holes later with birdie at twelve and, had he remained at that figure, would have won his first Tour event since 2014. Instead, golf scratched at him slowly and painfully. Hadley approached poorly to each of the final three greens, missed them all, and recovered not once. His three lost strokes brought him back to minus-10, tied with five others for second position.

In the winner’s circle, courtesy of a closing 68, was 22-year-old Garrick Higgo of South Africa. His score wasn’t the lowest on the day; that number came from Ryan Armour and Will Gordon, both shooting 64 to shoot into the top 15. What Higgo did was hold the rudder steady. He, Doc Redman, and Tyrrell Hatton were the only leaders to not make a bogey down the stretch. Fortunately for Higgo, he had one more stroke to spare at the end and emerged victorious. Countryman Wilco Nienaber might have garnered attention early on with his prodigious drives, but in the end, it was Higgo. How unlikely? No media footage on the PGA Tour Twitter feed of the lad!

European Tour: Caldwell edges Otaegui and Hewson in Sweden 

The hands-down winner for best format goes to the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika. There may have been an ampersand in there, but we didn’t want to risk it. The two Swedish greats teamed up to host a creative event that pitted women and men at the Vallda Club in Gothenburg. Sam Horsfield of England and Christine Wolf of Austria jumped out to the opening-round lead at 64, intimating that players from both tours would contend in the event. Unfortunately for Sam and Christine, it would not be them. Wolf went 72-73-74 for a t37 finish, while Horsfield followed his 64 with 74-72-71 for a t25 placing.

On day four, Australia’s Jason Scrivener jumped up to the lead, then closed with a bogey and two doubles in his final eight holes, for a T7 result. Adrian Otaegui of Spain was excruciatingly close all day, until bogey at the last dropped him out of the lead. He finished at -16, in solo second. Alice Hewson began day four in a tie for first, but rode a front-nine 3-3-3 of pars-bogies-birdies out of the top spot. She snapped around and closed with a back-nine 33 to finish at -15, two shots out of a playoff, in third alone.

The week’s honors went to Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell. The 37-year old stood eight-under on the day, in first spot, through 14 holes. Deciding to add to the day’s drama, he finished bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie, with his three at the last gaining two shots on Otaegui, propelling him to a career-first win on the European Tour. Prior to this week, the lad from Bangor had not finished higher than fifth in his career.

LPGA: Castren latest to claim first title

Celine Boutier posted an early 64 on Sunday at Lake Merced, and jumped up 34 spots in the standings as a result. Her electric performance served notice that mid-60s rounds were available to those who dared to risk all. Matilda Castren of Finland took notice, and torched the front nine in 30 strokes, thanks to four birdies and an eagle. When it seemed that the young Fin would run away from pursuers, she settled into an eight-par stretch, allowing overnight leader Min Lee an opportunity to give chase.

Lee had turned in one-under 35, but birdies at 10 and 15 brought her within one slice of Castren. On the 17th hole, a tricky par three, Lee faltered with bogey. Although she made birdie at the last to post 69, Castren was able to match that score at 18, and finish off a stellar 65. The win moved Castren inside the top 25 in the Race to CME Globe season-long chase. A bit down the money list, but of no less importance, Lydia Ko assumed the top spot in the season-long race for the first time in five seasons. With her win, Castren became the #FirstFinLPGA champion in history.

Korn Ferry Tour: Pereira by four at the BMW Charity Pro-Am

Interstate 85 runs past Greer, South Carolina, home to BMW in the USA. There’s no test track on site at the plant, but if you listen closely, you hear engines roar down 85, past Greenville. On Sunday, a Chilean import driving a Pereira raced past 54-hole leader Justin Lower, on his way to a four-shot victory.

Pereira tallied nine birdies on the day, enough to offset his two bogies. Lower was stuck somewhere between neutral and park, and did well to count even-par 71 on Sunday. That number was enough to keep him in solo second position, but he was helpless to stop the South American’s acceleration. The 64 wasn’t even the low round of the week for the man from the thin land, as he signed for 63 on Friday. As they (or I) say, a 64 on Sunday is equal to a 60 on Thursday. Doesn’t account for Friday, but who cares?

The victory was Pereira’s second in a row (shades of Cameron Young!) and will vault the 26-year old into the top spot of The 25, if only for a time. Why? BMW was his third victory of the 2020-2021 extended season, and triggered an instant promotion to the PGA Tour.

 

PGA Champions: Kelly storms back to edge Jiménez

The unfortunate part of senior tours is the window of winning opportunities. We grow accustomed to names atop the leader board, but Father Time eventually catches them all. For two days this week, Miguel Angel Jiménez shouldered the lead at the American Family Insurance Championship. On day three, homestate hero Jerry Kelly rode a horse called 66 into town, and galloped off with the sheriff’s badge.

Jiménez played fine golf on Sunday in Madison. His card was clean, with three birdies for 69. His problem was the 11-hole string of par, from seven through seventeen. Birdie at the last elevated him from a tie for third, to a tie for second with Fred Couples, but did no more to add to his Rioja cellar. The day belonged to Kelly, although the first hole might disagree.

The lad from Madison, began with bogey at the first, courtesy of never seeing the fairway between tee and green. He settled in to seven birdies over the next seventeen holes, with the final one arriving at the 16th hole. By then, he had eased past the Spaniard into first place. Pars at the final two holes ensured his seventh win on Tour Champions. Couples had a putt at the last to force extra holes, but it stayed on the high side.

 

Forme Tour: Davison by two over Du Toit in final Q-School

We might jump the gun with this one, but it’s worth alerting readers to the imminent arrival of the Forme Tour. Billed as the stateside counterpart to the Mackenzie Tour, the Forme Tour will serve as competition ground for PGA Tour Canada players who are unable to cross the USA-Canada border, currently closed to non-essential workers. Seven qualifying schools were held at eastern and western USA sites. Eight events will be held from June through September, culminating in a tour championship in New Jersey.

This week, at The Home Course near Tacoma, Washington, Callum Davison and Jared Du Toit battled throughout the entire, 72-hole event. Each golfer birdied hole 70, and Davison followed up with another at hole 71, to reach 13-under par. Du Toit stumbled with a bogey to drop back to minus-eleven. Both made par at the final hole, with Davison claiming medalist honors. Both golfers will compete in two weeks in Georgia, at the Forme Tour’s first official event.

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