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August 23, 2003

Jonathan Kaye


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Co-leader Jonathan Kaye, thanks for joining us. Great round today, 65. Conditions just about as tough as they can be on the PGA Tour. Let's get some opening comments from you.

JONATHAN KAYE: It was a pretty good round for me. I had a nice start. I birdied the first four, nearly missed one on the fifth hole and then three-putted the 7th hole for a bogey, missed about a three-footer. Other than that I was pretty solid most of the day. I had one other bogey on No. 10, an errant drive into the right fairway bunker.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You put together two solid rounds, but you came from behind and you've got one more day. Talk about your mindset going into tomorrow. There's still a few players on the course, but you're still in the hunt or the lead.

JONATHAN KAYE: I definitely like the position that I'm in. It's better than being a few more back, and I look forward to tomorrow, to the challenge, and trying to finish on top.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You won the Buick Classic holding a 54-hole lead. Was it some different circumstances having finished your third round Sunday and then teeing off Sunday afternoon? Is there any difference as far as having to sleep on the lead or close to the lead tonight?

JONATHAN KAYE: I don't think so. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow and playing. I don't treat it any differently than any other round. I'll get to play with someone that I've never played with before, so it should be interesting.

Q. How much confidence did you gain winning the Buick and has it changed you at all?

JONATHAN KAYE: I don't think it's changed me, but I definitely have a little more confidence on the golf course and have what I guess you'd call like an inner peace. It's just nice knowing that you've got one under your belt and you don't have to go out and win this week or next week, yet you try.

Q. I think this would be before Buick, finishing in the top ten of the U.S. Open?

JONATHAN KAYE: That was a good round that day, the final round of the Open, I shot 1-under and moved up into tied for tenth and I took some of that momentum that I had there and carried it into the next week at Westchester. It was definitely a good steppingstone.

Q. Can you talk about the difficulty level of this course this week and the setup? Do you generally like playing tougher setup courses?

JONATHAN KAYE: I do. I enjoy the challenge. The greens from the beginning of the week or I should say from the practice rounds have changed dramatically. You were backing balls up. Now they're firming up and they're kind of crunchy on top and late in the day a lot of spike marks. They're challenging and fast and kind of sneaky around the hole.

Q. Is this as tough as anything you've played all year, or where does it rank?

JONATHAN KAYE: I thought last week was pretty tough. The rough here is adequate and it's challenging enough that you can hit shots out of there. They're going to fly. But like last week you just had no choice. If you weren't inside of 130 yards you had no chance of getting it on the green. It's nice to play out of the rough. I think it's more exciting for the fans and the players like it, too, instead of just chipping out.

Q. If you did well in the Open you must be a straight hitter. I was wondering with as fast as these fairways are this week and you being here for the first time, has that been the key for you here, keeping the ball out of the rough and giving yourself short irons into the green?

JONATHAN KAYE: I've been in the rough a lot, let's get one thing straight. Today I drove it better than I had the previous two days, and it definitely showed in my score. The first day I drove it everywhere. I made some great pars and I made some birdies from some crazy places, but it's definitely the key to this golf course, is keeping it in play.

Q. Is this pretty similar to Westchester?

JONATHAN KAYE: In a way it is. I think Westchester has a few more severe greens and maybe some more hills and blind approaches and things like that, but there are a lot of similarities, small greens, well bunkered, good rough around them. You definitely want to be hitting fairways and greens.

Q. How did you celebrate your win at Buick?

JONATHAN KAYE: I was just staying at a family's house and they had a little party for me, and then the next day I went home and took three weeks off.

Q. It says you've never had lessons at any time in your playing career.

JONATHAN KAYE: You know, I was a self-taught golfer. I since have had some lessons. I don't work with anybody specifically. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of my golf swing. If I need help, there are people that I can call, but I tend to try to figure it out on my own.

Q. That's kind of a unique approach for out here. How did you get into golf and how long have you been golfing?

JONATHAN KAYE: Everybody in my family played golf. I kind of got started when I was about 12, and I just enjoyed it because I was playing tennis before that and I hated chasing around all the balls on the court. I felt like I spent all my time picking up tennis balls instead of playing tennis, so I switched sports to golf. I picked it up pretty quick. I was fairly natural at it, and I just kind of stayed with that philosophy.

Q. You've been on Tour a while, and now you're starting to play your best golf. Is it just something that the pieces are falling together into place or is there another explanation for that?

JONATHAN KAYE: Well, I think everybody out here, the longer they're out here, the better they become. There's definitely an acclimation period that you need to go through when you're on Tour traveling, finding places to stay, all the places to eat, a lot of things that aren't golf-related. I think I'm just more comfortable with that and just feeling more comfortable out here in general.

Q. You played your way into the big tournaments, the all-star games the guys call them. How does it feel to be here and how do you view this tournament versus a regular Tour event? Is this a big deal as another tournament or that kind of thing?

JONATHAN KAYE: For me it's been a relatively stress-free week, no cut. I've never played in a PGA event where there wasn't a cut. I like Reno, but given the opportunity to play here, I have to take that. I miss Reno, I like that course, as well, but there definitely is kind of a major feel to this tournament.

Q. You mentioned just from your comments I guess the sense that you say you have a new inner peace that there's more than a little bit of a competitor in you and it certainly must appeal to that competitive instinct to have the guy who was in here right before you, Tiger Woods, up on the board and a handful of guys sure has been in striking distance tomorrow, some of the best players in the world. Does that get you going a little bit?

JONATHAN KAYE: I'm very competitive in just about everything that I do. Yeah, it does. I like the challenge in trying to beat the best players in the world.

Q. The leaderboard is packed with people bunched up. What kind of approach do you take for tomorrow?

JONATHAN KAYE: I just go out and play, try to make birdies and try not to watch the leaderboard. There's not much I can do to control what other people are doing out there, and I just need to worry about what it is that I need to take care of.

Q. Did you take a look at it today?

JONATHAN KAYE: I looked on the 16th green only because it was right there, but I think that was the only time I saw a leaderboard.

Q. I think you went to Australia, didn't you, for the Match Play?


Q. You were one of those guys that were there because --

JONATHAN KAYE: Someone else didn't want to be there.

Q. 50 others didn't want to be there.

JONATHAN KAYE: That was a long trip for 18 holes for me.

Q. Did you win all 18 that day?

JONATHAN KAYE: 17 holes I think we went. It was an ugly match, I'll tell you that.

Q. Kind of a two-parter here. Does it feel different coming to this one knowing that you've earned your way in, A, and B, since winning at Buick, when you approached the weekend did you feel any differently than you did before? Do you have that all straight?

JONATHAN KAYE: I've got it all straight. I don't feel any different. I mean, I didn't feel like I was like a charity person at the tournament. You know, I felt like I had enough game to compete there. Unfortunately, I wasn't well prepared to go over there at the time and didn't give myself enough time to get acclimated to the time change, and the long flight just kind of beat me up. This is kind of more in the neighborhood, you know, and I feel more comfortable being here.

Q. There was a big cut there, too, wasn't there?

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, there was a cut. Every day there was a cut.

Q. Jonathan, you can count on half a hand how many people have birdied the first four holes here, especially given that 3 and 4 are so tough. Could you go over there what you did?

JONATHAN KAYE: Well, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a lob wedge to six feet, made that.

2, hit a driver and a 7-iron just above the hole, tried to lag it down there, didn't do a very good job, left myself a six-footer for birdie, made that.

Hit a driver on 3 down the middle, hit a 9-iron to about eight feet, made that.

And 4, I hit a driver that rolled -- I don't think you can keep it in that fairway, but I was in the first cut and I had like 120 yards to the pin and hit just a dead-hand wedge that stopped on a dime a foot from the cup.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Did you almost birdie 5, as well?

JONATHAN KAYE: I did. I hit a good shot into 5 that went about 12 feet by the hole and I left it sitting on the lip.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What did you hit there.


Q. It says here one of your hobbies is jalapeno farming.

JONATHAN KAYE: Why are you guys laughing? I mean, they've got to come from somewhere, don't they?

Q. Do they actually grow in Phoenix, though?

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, they grow everywhere. Do you want to know how it started? Here's how it started. I got a gardener, right, a Spanish guy. He took the liberty of planting jalepenos all over my house. I've since moved homes, but I do like the jalepenos. Once I saw them it was kind of like having a Christmas tree in your yard at all times. It was different colors, pretty, nice table talk. Everybody around my part of the country loves them, they're great gifts. I've just continued to harvest them. I enjoy doing that when I'm home.

Q. Are they difficult to grow?

JONATHAN KAYE: No, they're really easy to grow. You just plant them and they go off by themselves. In Arizona we get irrigation so they get plenty of water.

Q. What are we talking about as far as how many --

JONATHAN KAYE: My yield? Like I said, I've moved, but last time I got about 40 pounds of jalepenos off of my five big bushes.

Q. Does that make you a baron in this industry?

JONATHAN KAYE: I'd like to think so.

Q. What about your other -- the dog training, you've got two things in your hobbies or interests that --

JONATHAN KAYE: You know, come on, look at those hobbies that people put in there. I mean, reading, sports? I mean, I could do that. Next year I'm going to go really, really vanilla on you and throw you for a loop. I take so much heat for my jalepeno farming. I enjoy dominos, fine dining. It was kind of a gag, but you guys ran with it and it's true, so it's really not a lie.

Q. What about the dogs?

JONATHAN KAYE: Yeah, I train dogs.

Q. What kind?

JONATHAN KAYE: I have a Schipperke.

Q. Belgian Schipperke?


Q. I had a friend who raised those his whole life.

JONATHAN KAYE: They're great dogs.

Q. They're wild.

JONATHAN KAYE: Mine is very well behaved.

Q. I meant that in a positive way, they're great dogs.

JONATHAN KAYE: They are, spunky.

Q. You've gotten to know some of these guys, you've been on the Tour a while. Do you come in here with a different attitude, as far as your answers aren't quite as formulated, I guess?

JONATHAN KAYE: I'm a muni-player, man. That's where I grew up. I tell it like it is. We don't try to sugar coat it.

JONATHAN KAYE: 10 was a bogey.

11, I made a six-footer.

13 was a six-footer, too.

And 16 was about a 15-footer.

End of FastScripts....

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