PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Alex Cejka became the first PGA Tour player to be disqualified under the new Rules of Golf limiting green-reading books.
Cejka, who was using a previous year’s version of the green reading book for PGA National, was informed of a possible infraction on the the 13th hole and one hole later was disqualified during the opening round of the Honda Classic on Thursday.
“It was brought to the committee’s attention that Alex might possibly be using some old greens reading materials,” said PGA Tour rules official Robby Shelton, who informed Cejka of the DQ. “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.”
Under the new rule, green reading books are far more limited in what information they can provide than in the past. Specifically, there is a minimum slope indication limit that allows the books to continue to use numbers, lines, arrows or other indications to identify slopes on greens, but only in areas of four percent slope or more. Areas with less slope on the green than the minimum must be blank.
The matter was brought to officials’ attention when playing partner Cameron Tringale noticed that Cejka was using an old book as he walked past him as Cejka lined up a putt on the 10th green and was studying the material in the book.
“I saw it and told my caddie,” Tringale said. “I mentioned it to [Cejka] but was unfamiliar how exactly to proceed. I told the first official I saw what I had seen.”
Shelton approached Cejka on the 13th hole, studied the material and made the ruling.
Ironically, PGA National’s greens had been re-done from a year ago.
“I was perplexed,” Tringale said of noticing the book. “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.”