While we're all sweltering in this 110-plus degree heat, PGA Tour player Alex Cejka reminds you it could certainly be worse, based on the old adage: It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
There's pretty much no humidity here, just the way Cejka likes it since having relocated to Southern Nevada in 2005.
"I had a friend who had a cottage at West Palm Beach in Florida, at the TPC," Cejka said. "But I didn't really like Florida. It was too humid and too hot. Plus, I like to jet ski, and they have alligators there.
"Over the years, I was playing all over America, and I just liked this area of the country better. I liked the dry heat. I can practice here in 100-degree weather, and I don't even sweat."
So it came to be that Cejka first ended up in Bullhead City in 2004, then moved to Summerlin in 2005, where he now lives with his girlfriend and his three children, though he still keeps a vacation home in Bullhead City.
But Cejka's travels started well before moving to Florida. He was born in the former Czechoslovakia on Dec. 2, 1970. In 1980, when he was 9, his father whisked him away to Germany for a purported vacation; in fact, the trip was an escape from the oppressive government in his homeland.
"I was too young to understand what was going on," Cejka said. "It was just a nice vacation for me. Then I remember, my dad just hugged me and said, 'We did it.'"
Cejka said the government would allow older people to leave the country, particularly for medical reasons. But the line was drawn there.
"For younger people, it was not possible to leave there."
Cejka had already been playing golf for several years -- "I started playing golf at 3 or 4. That's when I kind of had my first shots." -- but said it wasn't until he was 16 or 17 that he realized he might be able to make a living at it.
He turned pro in Europe in 1989, the same year one of the major symbols of communism crumbled.
"It was nice when the Berlin Wall broke down," said Cejka, who a year later freely and safely visited his homeland, now called the Czech Republic. "I went back in 1990, and that was nice. It's still going to be my home; it's where I was born, it's my mother language."
But his career in golf was just beginning and would take him far from that home.
"The first couple years, I was focusing on playing more in Europe," he said. "I won over there a couple times, and I had good years in 1995 and '96, and then I got a couple invites to the Masters and to some majors (in the United States).
"I really liked it here, and I figured, 'Let's see if I can stay here permanently.'"
In 2002, Cejka got his big break in the U.S., tying for second at Qualifying School to earn his PGA Tour card. In 2003, he was the second-highest finishing rookie on the PGA Tour money list at 60th, behind only current PGA Tour stalwart and major winner Ben Curtis. He took second at the B.C. Open, and got his first career top 10 in a major by taking fourth in the PGA Championship.
He was even better in 2004, earning a career-best $1,313,483 for the season, with three top-10 finishes.
Cejka hasn't yet surpassed that season, but he's been steady on the tour, despite battling injuries the past few years. He had to have spinal fusion surgery on a vertebra in his neck late last year, but he's managed to stay well within the top 120 on the money list this season, which would guarantee his playing privileges for next year. He's currently 96th, with earnings of $630,505.
He has six top-25 finishes this year, including one top 10 in a tournament he consistently enjoys: The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., an event often dubbed the "fifth major." Cejka tied for ninth at 4-under 284, despite not even flying to Florida until the Monday before the event.
"A couple weeks before, I had a pinched nerve in my right arm, and my hand was numb. I flew to San Diego to do a little rehab and got an injection in my spine, and Monday, I flew out (to Florida,)" he said. "I played three days pretty solid, which came as a surprise, because I was in the hospital the week before the tournament. Sunday, I didn't score as well (79), but that's how golf is sometimes."
As much as Cejka didn't like the humidity of Florida, he admits the PGA Tour events in the Sunshine State tend to suit his game. In 2005, he tied for 12th at The Players Championship, and, earlier this year, he tied for 13th at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
"Every player has a couple courses that really suit the eye," he said. "I kind of play well in Florida, so I like to play in Florida."
Cejka has taken the past few weeks off but said he'll return for the Canadian Open, which begins Thursday in Oakville, Ontario.
"I'll play six or seven more tournaments this year, then probably take the winter off and start rehabbing and get ready for next season," he said.
Cejka is still in search of his first PGA Tour title, which is at the top of his golf to-do list.
"Everybody's goal, you want to win a couple times out here. Not only play, but win," he said. "I was close a couple times; it's just finishing the job. You've got to keep knocking on the door, and eventually, it's gonna open."