Palm Beach Gardens, Florida: Alex Cejka was disqualified from the Honda Classic on Thursday for using “greens-reading materials that did not fit the new scale allowed” according to a PGA Tour media official.
Cejka finished the 14th hole and was on his way to the 15th when he was approached by rules official Robby Ware.
“It was brought to the committee’s attention that Alex might possibly be using some old greens reading materials, and so we were obligated to check that out,” Ware said. “Alex was basically using an old yardage book and old greens reading materials that did not fit the size to scale limit.”
There didn’t appear to be any sort of prolonged discussion or argument. Cejka finished the 14th hole without incident but never teed off at 15. After meeting with Ware he hopped in a golf cart just off the tee box to be escorted off the course with his clubs and caddie in tow.
The issue with Cejka’s materials centered around the scale of the images of the greens, which are now limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards.
“The new scale limits is obviously much smaller,” Ware said. “That was the violation.”
Ware also said he believed this was the first time a player has been disqualified for this type of rules violation.
Cameron Tringale and Ryan Palmer finished their rounds as a twosome.
Golf’s governing bodies unveiled a host of new rules for 2019, and information about reading putting greens is among those.
According to the USGA’s website on greens-reading materials:
The interpretation limits the size and scale of detailed putting-green maps and any similar electronic or digital materials that a player may use during a round to assist with reading his or her line of play on the putting green.
This certainly isn’t the first incident under the new modern rules of golf. Multiple players spoke out in protest after Denny McCarthy was assessed a two-shot penalty during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. McCarthy’s caddie was standing behind him during a a practice stroke, which was interpreted as a violation of the new alignment rule implemented to prevent players receiving help lining up on the greens.
The USGA ultimately rescinded that penalty following the outcry from his peers, determining he had not yet begun to take his stance while the caddie was behind him.
Rickie Fowler also received a one-shot penalty during last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship after he took a drop from shoulder height. The new rules require players to drop from knee height. Fowler took the blame for the mistake but called it a ‘terrible’ rule change.
The latest incident involving Cejka occurred just days after R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers expressed some frustration with the new rules process.
“There’s been some unfortunate situations, no doubt about that,” Slumbers said. “It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked.”
Image: Alex Cejka, seen her playing a shot during the first round of the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open, was disqualified from the Honda Classic during Thursday’s first round.