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January 9, 2005

Jonathan Kaye


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Jonathan Kaye, the runner-up in the 2005 Mercedes Championships, for joining us today. A 2-under 71 today. Looked like the back nine, you couldn't find that extra birdie that you needed.

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, I made a bogey on 12 that kind of cost me, but I had some -- I hit a good putt on 13 and it didn't go in. I hit a good putt on 14 and it didn't go in. Then I hit a good shot into 15 and it spun back down the hill.

18, you know, kind of had a decision to either fly it to the hole or run it up there and I guess I chose the wrong one.

TODD BUDNICK: It's been a great way to start the season, obviously a little frustration, do you take good thoughts out of this.

JONATHAN KAYE: I didn't play golf in the off-season, maybe two rounds the whole off-season. So I was pleased with the way I played, considering that I thought I might shoot 80 every day when I first got here. So, you know, things are looking good.

Q. A lot of shifting around, nobody figured that Vijay would slip a little bit and guys were just hitting in the gunk it seemed, coming down the stretch, with the wind and things changed with the last three days, did the weather affect the course at all?

JONATHAN KAYE: Today it was a different wind. We've been reaching 15 all week, and today, it was -- Ernie hit driver, driver and still had a lob-wedge in.

Yeah, the course played a lot different today. Greens were -- they were great. I think just a hair slower and I think it probably just threw guys off a little bit.

Q. What happened, you got a little bit off the fairway on 12, was that the hole --

JONATHAN KAYE: No, I was in the fairway. I just couldn't see any -- again, that hole, you know, guys were driving it up near the green all week and today it was straight in and I had to hit a 5-iron in and I hit a good drive.

It was just tough. It was a blind shot. Would have been nice to be a little further up where I could actually see what I was doing, but I pulled that shot and probably got what I deserved. Just didn't hit a good chip and a good putt there.

Q. Did you watch the score board and know where you stood and the other people stood? You were briefly in first place.

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, I had a pretty good idea. I didn't -- I thought Appleby was at 22 on the last. I didn't know if he made birdie or par, because on the hole before, the board said he was finished at 21, and obviously he wasn't, so the board was wrong.

You know, I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to make a birdie, and I hit it up there where I needed to be and I just didn't hit the shot at the right time. It's a tough choice, you know, you either bump it or you fly it to the hole or do you land it halfway and let it dribble up. And the greens are a little sticky, it's downgrain. I figured it would run and I just hit it about two yards too short. Otherwise, it would have covered that hill and probably rolled up near the hole somewhere and had a makeable chance.

Q. Said yesterday playing with the 1, 2, 3 guys in the world proved that your game stacks up with them. The fact that you finished second in a tournament full of winners must prove something, too.

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, I never felt like I didn't belong here. So, you know, someone's got to be 1, 2 and 3 and I'm whatever I am. (Laughter.)

So hopefully I'll move up and some time you'll be talking about me.

Q. When you reflect back on that shot on 18, do you think now that it was the right shot but not executed quite right?

JONATHAN KAYE: I don't know. You could hit it a lot of ways if you hit it right, you could do a lot of things. But if I had it to do over again, is that what you're asking me?

Q. Yeah.

JONATHAN KAYE: I'd fly it all the way to the hole. I'd fly it there and try to -- worse comes to worse, you've got an 8, 10-footer and that's better than a 45-footer.

Q. How was your back today?


Q. Did it affect anything?

JONATHAN KAYE: No, no. You know, I played, I tried to just swing within myself and not lash at it too much. It's sore, but I'll be all right.

Q. Did something happen here or is it recurring?

JONATHAN KAYE: You know, I woke up yesterday and it hurt in the morning. I couldn't touch my toes and couldn't bend over, so the guys luckily, you know, the therapist here took great care of me and got me so I could play and I appreciate that from them.

Q. I realize you're pretty much paying attention to your own game today but what shot surprised you more, Vijay on 13 or Ernie on 18?

JONATHAN KAYE: Ernie on 18. I don't know what he was doing to be honest with you. All week the wind has been right-to-left on that hole and today it was just a tad left-to-right. Like my caddie was telling me, take it a little left of where you normally do and I'm thinking to myself, why? Why take it? You've got that huge slope, everything is going to funnel down there if you just get it anywhere down the right side. You know, I'm sure Ernie wishes he had that one over again. I don't really know what was going through his mind but he played really nice other than that shot.

Q. He said it was close to where he wanted to hit it; it hit the cart path and bounced down.

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, I heard that, too.

Q. How much deliberation was there on your pitch at 18 with your caddie? Did you guys talk about the three possibilities?

JONATHAN KAYE: We did. He liked the running it up there. He didn't like flying it there and I kind of did. Ultimately, it's my choice, but I should have gone with my first instincts there. Unfortunately, I didn't.

Q. Did you use a 56?

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, a sand wedge, just tried to fly it over that ridge, and over that last little knob about 42 yards and I hit it about 40. Still, even if I hit it where I wanted to, I don't think it would have turned out very good.

Q. What can you take from a tournament like this into the rest of the year?

JONATHAN KAYE: It's a good way to start the year. Obviously finishing second isn't too bad. But everybody wants to win. I'm a little disappointed in my finish, but, you know, hopefully I'll have some more opportunities later on this year and I'll learn from my mistakes and capitalize when I have the chance.

Q. The two things we've talked about, which was 12 and not knowing exactly where the hole was because you were so far back off the tee, with the 5-iron, and then on 18, those sound a lot like Kapalua and experience around this course, not experiencing golf but around this course. Do you think if you had played this course more that in both cases you may have executed differently?

JONATHAN KAYE: 12 was just straight out a hard hole, probably one of the hardest holes we played all day, at least when we got there. The fan blew 45 miles an hour straight in. I don't think that was inexperience. I knew where I wanted to hit it, I just didn't hit it there. It's hard to hit a 5-iron from an upslope to a downhill green with the wind blowing 35 miles an hour in your face and blind. (Laughter.)

So I thought I picked a pretty good spot. It really wasn't a bad spot to be. I had a relatively easy chip. I just didn't hit a good chip and a bad putt. That's pretty much how you make a bogey.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your birdies.

JONATHAN KAYE: 3, I made about a 20-footer.

9, I holed out from about 35 yards for eagle.

10, I made about a 12-footer for birdie, 8-footer, somewhere in there. I think that was all of my birdies.

TODD BUDNICK: And the bogey on 5.

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, on 5, that was probably. I hit it -- I laid it up and thought I hit a good shot, just ate it up and came up about 20 yards short and hit another poor chip and hit a good putt, but it's tough to make putts up here when you're putting up into the grain and long distance.

TODD BUDNICK: Thanks, Jonathan.

End of FastScripts.

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