Kaye won his first PGA Tour event Sunday when he birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff with John Rollins. Then he eagled the first hole to amass a huge amount of style points and a great, big barrel full of official money.
After a fashion, style has always been something Kaye has brought to the golf course in large doses. The problems have surfaced when certain of his peers and superiors on the tour have questioned Kayes ability to draw the line between lan and bad taste.
Some of this is similar to the way people dredged up all the questions about Jim Furyks swing two weeks ago while he was dominating the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields. You will now be hearing many things about Kayes checkered past.
Going all the way back to the time he was 12 years old, there was the first tournament he played in as a junior. He stopped counting at 117 blows and withdrew. Later he said he didnt know gimmes were allowed.
More recently he raised the hackles of tour officials in 2001 at Kingsmill when, after shooting 66, he showed up at a clubhouse checkpoint without his players badge. He told the guard he had left it on his bag. The guard told him to go fetch. Kaye did so and, allegedly, showed up with said badge clipped to his zipper.
The result, after much backing and forthing between Kaye and the tour and his lawyers, was an unannounced eight week suspension at the start of the 2002 season. Kaye subsequently denied all the particulars of the incident. But he didnt appeal the disciplinary action. Draw your own conclusions.
But dont deny Kayes ability.
To many, he has come across as an aging GenXer with the attention span of a gnat. But you dont finish tied for 10th at the U.S. Open like he did two weeks ago and win at the demanding Westchester Country Club without being able to find your focus.
If nothing else, it beats working.
I just remember when I graduated from college and everybody was getting jobs, Kaye said late Sunday. I didnt really want to get a job.
So he decided to play golf for a living. Now close to five million dollars later, the 32-year-old Kaye knows he did the right thing.
They dont concede putts on the PGA Tour and they dont tolerate behavior they believe is detrimental to their image. But they do give second chances. Jonathan Kaye got one. Sunday at New York. He cashed in on it.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.