Decade after Phoenix win, Kaye looking ahead instead of behind

By Jason SobelJanuary 31, 2014, 5:36 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – This week marks the 10-year anniversary of Jonathan Kaye's second and last PGA Tour victory, a two-stroke triumph here in his adopted hometown that to him doesn’t seem so long ago.

“I knew it was 10 years,” he says. “I was just like, ‘Man, that sure went fast.’ That’s about all I needed to know about it.”

Kaye won’t get much more sentimental than that, despite being far removed from a career that not only included those two wins, but 10 other top-three finishes and more than $10 million in earnings. He hasn’t teed it up since withdrawing after a first-round 75 at the Puerto Rico Open three years ago, the result of surgery on his right shoulder and a cartilage problem in his right foot.

Or as he puts it, “I’m just old.”

He’s really not, though. At 43, he is the same age as the likes of Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, each of whom is still successfully plying his trade in the big leagues. That remains a goal for Kaye, who plans to compete in the Tour’s Panama Claro Championship in two months.

Not that he’s overly optimistic about his chances.

“I’m super rusty,” he admits. “I haven’t competed in almost three years. It takes a little while to get it back, you know? It’s a bit frustrating at times. You show some progress and suddenly you go backwards. It’s like learning how to play again.”

All of which stands to reason why the Colorado native and longtime Phoenix resident didn’t even bother to try and Monday qualify for this year’s edition of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, known a decade ago as the FBR Open when his name was engraved on the trophy.

In fact, Kaye doesn’t even identify himself as a professional golfer, choosing another vocation when asked what he does with his time.

“Dude, I’m a full-time dad,” he says of being there with his wife, Jennifer, for daughters Breeze, 8, and Ryelie, 6. “We’re up at 6 making breakfast, getting them cleaned up, getting them situated, then it’s on with my day. Then I’ve got to pick them up from school at 2:40, take them to tennis, violin, gymnastics, swimming, playdates. There are a lot of activities.”

It’s all a complete 180 from his playing days, when Kaye had a reputation as the PGA Tour’s bad boy.

He never fit into the cookie-cutter mold of professional golfer, the type who says and does all the right things so as to never ruffle any feathers. Even his Wikipedia page is largely devoted to a 2001 incident during which a tournament security guard wouldn’t allow him access without his identification badge, so he returned with it clipped to the zipper of his pants, resulting in what was reportedly a lengthy suspension.

Ask him whether that label was justified and Kaye professes neutrality.

“Frankly, I don’t care what anybody thinks of me,” he maintains. “Anytime you’re a little bit different, you stand out. People take notice of that. I don’t know if I was good or bad, but I always respected everybody I played with.”

Even with that incident on his permanent record, along with several other figurative scrapes and dustups on the course, Kaye contends that he only has one regret.

“My regret would be not working on my putting more,” he explains. "That prolongs your career. If I make putts, I’m out there. I mean, every guy who plays on Tour, if they putt well, they’re going to do well.”

There’s still time. Despite only playing “two, three, four times a week – wherever my buddies want to play or wherever the game is,” Kaye has some additional motivation.

He wants to show the two little girls he drops off at school and picks up in the afternoon and takes to all of those various activities that he has another job, too.

“My youngest doesn’t really remember me playing, but my oldest does,” he says. “It would be nice to make an impression, make a move in my game so they can remember it. We’ll see how it goes this year.”

Kaye is looking ahead instead of behind. He doesn’t think much about that victorious week here 10 years ago, a week when he topped a leaderboard consisting of recent major champions Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Mike Weir, plus Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. He recalls putting well during those rounds of 65-68-66-67, but that’s about it, really.

So don’t expect any sentimental gestures from him this week. Don’t assume he’ll spend any time reliving the glory days or reveling in nostalgia.

After all, it doesn’t seem like so long ago anyway. Not until he actually gives it some thought.

“Time just keeps on moving, man” he says. “Doesn’t it?”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.