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.