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May 12, 2007

Sean O'Hair


LAURA NEAL: All right, Sean, thanks for joining us. Birdie-birdie-birdie finish, pretty much as good as you could ask for.
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it was a nice way to cap off a great day out there.

Q. At 17 the cameras focused on your face. It looked like you were in agony. Did you think you hit it over the green or short?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, Peter hit 9, obviously hit before me and kind of hit a soft 9, and I saw that barely cleared the water in front of the green, and I just told Steve, I said, "It's a perfect knock-down 9-iron." You know, I was trying to just hit it in the middle of the green and hopefully it kind of skips up on the top tier there. I hit it exactly the way I wanted to, hit it right on line, and as I hit it the wind died, and I thought I hit it over the green.
I guess the wind just -- where I was died, where you obviously it held it up because if it didn't, it would have been in the water. It just was a nice bonus there.

Q. Could you possibly put into words what a win tomorrow might mean for you after all you've been through?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, you know, it would be great. You know, this is THE PLAYERS. You know, I mean, it would be good to win any tournament, to be honest with you. I've just got to focus on tonight just relaxing and not really think about tomorrow and just have -- enjoy my family tonight.
And tomorrow, I mean, really I just have to have a good perspective on tomorrow. Really, tomorrow, all it is is just a round of golf. Yes, the final round of the Masters, yeah, I'm playing in the final group, yeah, I'm playing with Phil Mickelson, but if I get caught up in all that staff, I'm not going to play well.
I'm just going to go out there and have a good time and try the put the best swing I can on whatever shot I'm playing and see how it works.

Q. I understand that your mother is driving up to come watch; is that true?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah. It'll be good to see her on Mother's Day.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of pressure tomorrow with what you were just talking about. How much does what you've gone through in your life with your family, your father, how much does that make it easier to deal with these kind of things because you've already gone through an awful lot in your life?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, the past is behind me, and I don't really know if that has an effect on anything. You know, all I can say is right now, I mean, I've got a great support group. My wife, my kids, my in-laws, you know, Steve and Kathy, who knew travel with my family without those guys. They're a huge part of my life and my wife's life.
My mom is always calling me and supporting me, and my sister, so I've got a lot of good people behind me, and I think that's where it comes from, not the other stuff.

Q. Can you talk about bringing Steve back on the bag a few months ago, and what was not going right before that?
SEAN O'HAIR: I don't know exactly how long Steve was off the bag for. I think it was like six weeks or something like that. You know, it just wasn't clicking last year at the beginning of the year, and kind of like it wasn't at the beginning of this year. You know, I just said, hey, what do you think about us kind of splitting for a little bit and me seeing what else is out there. I saw what else is out there, I didn't like it, so I went back to him.
You know, we had a great -- when he came back on the bag, I think I had three Top 10s or four Top 10s or something like that pretty much bunched in there right after he got back on the bag. You know, when we work well together, I feel like we -- as far as a team is concerned, there's really not much better.
But, you know, he's the in-law, sometimes the outlaw (laughter), and we have our moments just like everybody else. You know, normally we have a great time and we work well together.

Q. Do you think the more successful you are the more people will stop bringing up the adversity, and does that make you want to win even more to put that stuff at rest?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, the past has -- I don't know how else to answer it. As far as the past is concerned, I don't think about it. I don't think about it, and it doesn't have an effect on me one way or the other. You know, it's unfortunate that my father and I are in the situation that we're in, but obviously that's the way it is and we've got to live with it, you know. And as far as my family is concerned, that's, as I keep telling everybody, that's where the good stuff is coming from.
If you don't have good support group, you're not going to play good golf. It's not like I'm playing in spite of my father. I'm playing golf because I love it. I'm playing golf because I want to be one of the better players, and that's it.

Q. You've gone from beating the bushes in that old Ford Taurus to a position now where it's almost too good to be true.
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, you know, hard work. Hard work and -- you know, just keep believing in what you dream about, I guess. That's all it is. You know, you've got I don't know how many guys out here on TOUR that every single guy is working as hard and working for the same thing, you know, and whether it be Tiger trying to get better and winning more majors, or whether it be me trying to win golf tournaments or whether it be Joe Blow just making it on the PGA TOUR this year, we're all out there beating balls and working hard. And I guess if you have enough talent and you work hard enough and you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

Q. As you know, the past two winners of this have led the tournament in driving accuracy, and you're leading in driving accuracy at this point. I would assume the game plan stays the same for tomorrow?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, absolutely. You know, just hitting the right shots. I think I heard Tiger say -- I can't remember when it was, but it was early this week, he just sat there and said, you've got to play your spots. This is what that golf course is all about, playing to your spot. And sometimes a spot -- for instance, on 10, my ball looks like it's going in the hole, and I don't know where it landed, but I was in the worst spot possible. I hit a good shot, but I was in the worst spot possible. That spot might be 20, 25 feet right or left of the pin on the greens, and you've just got to play that kind of golf. You know, you've just got to play smart and hit good shots, and hopefully things work out.

Q. Three-part question. Have you ever played in the final round since you've been on TOUR? Second is when was the last time you held a lead going into the final round at any level? And third is what past situations do you think prepare you for the kind of pressure you're going to have tomorrow?
SEAN O'HAIR: I'll answer the last question first. As far as pressure is concerned, there's pressure every day out here. You know, I mean, at least I feel like there's pressure every day, whether it be Thursday at the New Orleans tournament or Thursday at this tournament. You know, there's no "if," it's just a matter of just handling it. I have no choice. You've got to deal with it tomorrow.
I think if I just do what I need to do tomorrow and not focus on pressure or focus on the tournament or whatever and just play golf, I should be fine.
What was your other two?

Q. Have you ever played in the final group as a pro?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I have, the final day of Byron in '05. I played with I think it was Todd Hamilton.

Q. And when was the last time you held the lead going into the final round of a tournament?
SEAN O'HAIR: Byron Nelson '05.

Q. Standing on the 16th tee are you thinking I can birdie the last three holes? Or is it more now you can say what a great finish?
SEAN O'HAIR: No, I just three-putted 15, and obviously I was disappointed in that. But when I stepped up on the tee on 16, I just was thinking of start on my line. I hit the shot down there, and then I was -- had a 5-iron in my hand. I was trying to hit the right shot there. It's not like I'm trying to birdie 16, 17, 18; that just happened.
You know, whether you want to call it luck or just hitting good shots or whatever, but just -- you know, I played well all day, and I was hitting 90 percent of my shots somewhere close to where I wanted to hit it, and it just was a good day. I felt good on the greens, and it just was a nice way to cap off the day.

Q. How are your game, your swing and your confidence different since you reunited with your coach this spring?
SEAN O'HAIR: I think from the time I called him to now, it's completely different. You know, I kind of was searching a little bit when I called him, and then when we talked, he's just like, you know, it's the same old stuff. He came out to Houston, he looked at my swing, he's like, you know, we're just going to work on this, work on that, and it was very simple. It was stuff that we worked on in the past, and it just was like he never left.
He's been obviously a big part of this, and my father-in-law has been a big -- he's working his tail off out there. There's a lot of people who are helping me out right now. I'm working a lot with Rotella, and that helps me out.
As far as my confidence is concerned, I feel good. I feel good.

Q. Is that when you went back to focusing on the downswing?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I just worked on my downswing and my through-swing. Whenever I work on my backswing, I tend to get a little bit off.

Q. What did you think of No. 2 for Lonard?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, that was awesome. That was pretty cool. That was the first time I had ever seen that. Actually a good buddy of mine, Hunter Mahan, made one yesterday, and I texted him. Unfortunately he missed the cut by a shot, but that doesn't happen to too many people, especially in this kind of event. It would have been cool to see it on TV tonight. I'm going to look for it.
But it just was kind of a nice way to start off the day. We both missed the green on 1, made some nice up-and-downs, and he makes a 2 on the second. And I told Steve after I made my birdie putt, I said, not too many times have I made a birdie and felt like I made a bogey (laughter). That was really cool to see.

Q. Secondly, have you played with Mickelson before?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I played with him the first two rounds at Phoenix this year.

Q. Have you ever played with him this deep into a tournament?

Q. What do you anticipate there?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, the crowd is going to be rowdy, the crowd is going to be rooting for Phil, which they probably should be.

Q. Why?
SEAN O'HAIR: I don't know, because he's, I'm sure, the favorite. I have no idea.

Q. I just thought I'd ask.
SEAN O'HAIR: I just take it from past experiences. I mean, when I walk on No. 16 at Phoenix, I was playing with Will MacKenzie and Phil on Friday, we step on the tee, I couldn't -- I mean, Will and I were three feet apart and I couldn't hear what he was saying it was so loud walking up. Just everybody loves Phil.
Obviously that's got to be a pretty cool feeling. Hopefully I'm in that spot at that time in my career.
But as far as tomorrow goes, I mean, he's just -- I'm sure he's going to attack, as everybody else. Phil is not the only guy playing in this event. You've got guys like Luke Donald, who played a great round of golf today, and there's a ton of guys that are going to go after it tomorrow. I can't be concerned about it. I'm just another guy on the golf course playing golf. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. In '05 at Byron Nelson, what did you take out of that final round? And this year do you feel like there was any point where you were actually in the hunt this year?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, as far as what I took from Byron, I guess what I took from Byron is just that I felt like I belonged. You know, I shot 70, which at the time was 2-under. It was par 72 in '05. You know, walking up the 18th, I made a -- I don't know how long a putt it was, 25-footer. It didn't mean anything, but I made a 25-footer on the last hole for birdie, and I went to Steve, and I said, you know what, I feel like, hey, I can play with these guys now. I was in the final group, I knew what was going on, and I didn't back down and I played some good golf. Obviously Ted Purdy shot 5-under or whatever he shot, 7-under, to win. You know, and I just -- that's what I took from that event.
And then as far as feeling like I've been in the hunt this year, you know, I've felt like I could win. I felt like going into certain weeks I felt like I can win, I feel like I can win. But I'd say the past month I feel like, hey, my game is there, or getting there. Just be patient with it. I'm working with Rotella, I'm just trying to not try and win. I think whenever I try and win, that's when I normally screw up.
LAURA NEAL: Thanks for joining us. Good luck tomorrow.

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