Pro again breaks green-reading rule, and again he is booted from event
Three years ago, Alex Cejka’s greens book was too big. On Saturday, it was not OK’d.
Both times, the gaffes were costly.
The latest misstep came to light after Saturday’s third round of the Regions Tradition, the PGA Tour Champions circuit’s first major, when the tour said that Cejka was disqualified for using “a yardage book that had not been approved for the competition by the PGA Tour Champions Rules Committee.” Cejka, the event’s defending champion, had shot rounds of 69, 74 and 76, was tied for 12th and was 10 shots behind leader Steve Stricker.
The DQ came as a result of a violation of Model Local Rule G-11, which went into effect at the start of the year. It states: “During a round, the player may use only the yardage book(s) approved by the Committee. This restriction also applies to any other maps of the course, including hole-location sheets. Additional restrictions apply to handwritten notes and any other materials used by the player that could help read the line of play on the putting green.”
Cejka has yet to comment. In a memo to players in early November, the PGA Tour said it supported the creation of its own “committee-approved” yardage books, which the memo said would include traditional green information, but would not allow the raw information on slopes and grades that many have argued serves to undermine the skill of green-reading.
“The purpose of this local rule is to return to a position where players and caddies use only their skill, judgment and feel, along with any information gained through experience, preparation and practice to read the line of play on the putting green,” the memo read, according to a story on the Tour’s website.
This was not Cejka’s first run-in with the rules for greens books.
During the first round of the 2019 Honda Classic, Cejka was disqualified after 14 holes for using a book that was deemed too large. The size limitation went into effect at the start of that year, and the rule states: “Any image of a putting green must be limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) or smaller (the “scale limit”); any book or other paper containing a map or image of a putting green must not be larger than 4 ¼ inches x 7 inches (the “size limit”), although a “hole location sheet” that displays 9 or more holes on a single sheet of paper may be larger, provided that any image of a single putting green meets the scale limit.”
According to a Golf Digest story at the time, Cejka’s playing partner, Cameron Tringale, noticed that Cejka was using an old book when he walked past Cejka on the 10th green studying the book as he lined up for a putt.
“He knew he was using an old book,” PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware told Golf Digest. “He told me that. I don’t know that he was completely understanding of what the scale limits are.”
Notably, Cejka was also the second player to be DQ’d from the Regions Tradition. John Daly failed to sign his scorecard after Friday’s second round, and he was not allowed to continue.