Sean O’Hair comes of age and plays confident golf at Quail Hollow


So do you think Sean O’Hair has learned his lesson about closing out a golf tournament confidently? Well it’s tempting to say, "No, he hasn’t." There he was dropping shots on the last two, admittedly extremely difficult, holes and leaving the final result to be decided by Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods the players still out on the course. Fortunately and in many ways, he did win; with Tiger not up to making those closing birdies he’s usually making and Lucas making the same mistake on 17 as Sean was making a few minutes earlier.

I have to say that I was sitting there expecting Lucas Glover to hole his birdie putt on 18 and force a play-off. And I was expecting Sean O’Hair to win the sudden death. Now you may find that surprising given Sean’s capitulation to Tiger over the last nine holes at Bay Hill, just a couple of weeks ago. But I suspect that Sean learned a lot there and boosted his golf confidence significantly. Did you notice how he was looking really composed and quietly confident waiting for the play-off he was expecting? He wasn’t looking like a man in a state of fear.

Now it might have all been different if Sean had been paired with Tiger for the last round at Quail Hollow. Unconsciously, he would have been generalising back to the bad experience at Bay Hill and most likely repeating his capitulation there. If that had happened, we could have seen the end of Sean O’Hair as the great golfer he now is. As it is, the bad spell is broken and I suspect that he’ll now look forward to taking on Tiger in the last round. Tiger may beat him in the future, but he’ll have to play well to do so, as Sean won’t capitulate again.

The worst case scenario happened to Tony Jacklin back in the early 1970s after he had won both the British Open in 1969 and the US Open in 1970. When I played with Tony at the end June 1970 and he held both titles, it was obvious he knew that he was a winner and was going on to win many more major championships. But twice in quick succession, he got into the position to win major championships and failed. At Muirfield in 1972 Lee Trevino defeated him with an outrageous, some would say lucky, chip in. Tony couldn’t understand how he lost the first tournament, but he bounced back and got in contention for another one. The second time it happened, it completely knocked the stuffing out of him and, despite continuing to be one of the best ball-strikers of his era, he was never quite the same player again.

If he didn’t already know it, Sean O’Hair now knows unconsciously, where it matters, that he can win down the stretch against the best – even Tiger Woods. At his young age, with his undoubted talent and his generalising experience of winning, I’m sure that we’ll see a lot more success from Sean O’Hair.

By the way, Monday was a public holiday in the UK and I didn’t get up in time to post – I was a bit lazy!


  1. Andrew Fogg says:

    Thanks for your comments, Charlie and welcome to the website. I fully agree with your comments on the proof being in what Sean achieves this season. He really does deserve it given those problems.

    Again I have to agree with you about wanting to see “Poults” and Garcia winning a major this season. I’d have to add Luke Donald to the list, not least because we come from the same golf club.

    I have to say I hadn’t noticed the size of Sean’s feet; it does put a new slant on things!

  2. I go along with your analysis of what the win at Quail Hollow will do for Sean O’Hair. He has come of age as you say but the proof will be in what else he manages to achieve this season. It is so nice for the young man to do well given all the problems he has obviously had with his father. I really hope he does well, but I’d like to see ‘Poults’ and Garcia win a major this season.
    As a ‘by the way, have you noticed the size of Sean’s feet – they’re enormous, and what is it that is said about men with large feet? I couldn’t help thinking about that whilst watching him. It put a slightly different slant on watching him last weekend!

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