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May 29, 2007

Sean O'Hair


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Sean O'Hair to the interview room here at the Memorial Tournament. Sean coming off a two-week layoff. Must have been nice to kind of get away from the game, wasn't it?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it was nice. It was my first two-week break all year, so it was nice to just kind of hang out with family and relax a little bit and get away from the game for a few days.
STEWART MOORE: You said you took a couple days off and then got back to practicing. How is your game right now?
SEAN O'HAIR: Game feels good. It's been kind of a snowball, and it just keeps building, I think. I feel like I still have quite a few things to improve on, and I'm working on those things and hopefully I can get back to my good play this week.

Q. You made a lot of fans when it didn't work out for you at the 17th hole at TPC. It was, I guess, refreshing for a lot of fans to see a member of the PGA be aggressive and not just think about what prize money they might have to lose and still try to win the thing. Can you kind of talk about that?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah. You know, a lot of people these last couple weeks have come up to me and -- not really questioned what I did, but just wanted to know what I was thinking. You know, I guess what I just keep saying to everybody is just when I stepped up on the tee, there was one decision in my mind, there was just one goal, and that was to make birdie. I didn't think about money or any of that stuff. You know, I didn't think about U.S. Open exemption or any of that stuff.
You know, I think two days -- you know, for the two days after the fact, Monday and Tuesday, you know, you're thinking about kind of what happened, and you're reflecting on all those things. But I think -- you know, I mean, I just played. I just played golf. I didn't think about any results or anything like that. I just was trying to win.
That's what I tell them is there was no -- like I wasn't trying to -- I wasn't calculating anything because I think that's what they think is when you're stepping up on the tee, are you calculating what your position is and what the chances of you making birdie on that hole, and I just said, no, I'm just trying to make birdie.
But a lot of people have supported me on my decision, which was great. You know, I got a -- Phil Mickelson said some pretty nice words, which was unnecessary. It was just nice to get that feel from everybody that, hey, we really enjoyed seeing somebody go for it.

Q. You've had a couple great years here. You've performed very well at this tournament. Do you think maybe you've had a chance to compete maybe on the first page of the leaderboard here?
SEAN O'HAIR: I really like the course. I love the area. You know, I always play well in this area and this type of golf. It's just old school. It feels old school to me, and that's kind of what I like.
I just think a lot of it has to do with comfort, comfort with the golf course, comfort with the tournament, and this is one of the bigger events, bigger fields, and it just kind of gets you motivated maybe a little bit more. You know, it's just environment, I guess.

Q. Have you played since Sawgrass?
SEAN O'HAIR: Tournament, no. I've been playing, though.

Q. You have played?
SEAN O'HAIR: I've been playing, yeah.

Q. Where have you played?
SEAN O'HAIR: Just home, just playing some golf with buddies, played some golf with my wife.

Q. Who won?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, we weren't playing against each other. We were actually playing a team deal.

Q. And you're still married?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, we're all right (laughter). It was just nice, just nice, leisurely golf. It was just nice to have fun, just go on the golf course and not feel like you have to beat a thousand balls. It's just nice to lace up the shoes and go on the first tee and hit it without having to worry about anything. It was a nice, refreshing break.

Q. When you said some people have asked you what were you thinking, how did they -- what was their inflection as they asked?
SEAN O'HAIR: It just was like, tell me about the shot or tell me about what you were thinking there, and I just -- or I think the word is, "Tell us about 17, what happened." And I just said, hey, look, I felt comfortable with the club, I felt comfortable with the shot, and I hit a good shot. Unfortunately it wasn't the right club or the right shot, whatever it may be. You know, I just was trying to win the golf tournament, and they understand that.
I haven't really gotten any grief from it, though. Normally my buddies, they'll break my stones a little bit about doing something in a tournament. But I did nothing but get positive feedback, you know, and that was nice because -- I think Monday was pretty tough. Monday was a tough day for me, and so was Tuesday. But I think once I got back into practicing a little bit, I just felt like, you know what, I had a good week, and nothing but positive things happened at Sawgrass. And I think I proved a lot to myself at Sawgrass.

Q. A lot of focus right after that was on the money.

Q. But as you look back, is maybe the tougher part the having to play 36?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, more. I guess the tough thing was the fact that I would be in -- I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think I would have been in most majors. I would have kind of thrown myself in a better position for FedExCup and things like that. I mean, obviously you think of the money, but I think the more important thing was U.S. Open. That was the thing that bothered me the most, I think.

Q. When did you discover this, the U.S. Open thing?
SEAN O'HAIR: When my father-in-law told me on Monday. I kind of told -- I think my response was, "Why did you tell me that?"

Q. Did he also tell you you should have hit wedge?
SEAN O'HAIR: No, he was great. Steve backs me up. Whatever I decided to do, he was behind me 100 percent on it. We talked about it. And the fact of the matter is I probably should have made a couple putts going into 17. That's all there is to it.
I mean, I think the last time I thought about The Players was Tuesday after the event, and I haven't thought about it since.

Q. I guess one of the ironies of it is you're chasing maybe the biggest risk and reward player in golf, and so you go with the risk shot. Let me ask you, down the road if you're in a situation like that, not necessarily TPC but a major, are you going to think a little bit more about what you want to do down the stretch, or are you still going to be kind of aggressive if you feel that's the correct shot?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, the thing is I wouldn't have been as aggressive if I didn't feel comfortable with the shot. You know, I think what I'm trying to say is I didn't feel like I was forcing a shot. I felt like I had the numbers to carry the water, I had the number to carry the bunker, I had the number to the pin and I had the number to the back edge of the green, and I know what my number is with a 9-iron, and I felt comfortable with the shot.
I think that's why I hit a good shot. If I was trying to force it, I might have pushed it right or I might have hooked it left or whatever, but I think I was so comfortable with the shot that I hit a good shot, and maybe I was just a little pumped up.
I guess the best way I can answer that question is just the fact that I know now how I'm going to react to that -- I guess that scenario again. I feel like I have the ability to pull a shot off if I want to, but I also know that, hey, next time I might be juiced a little bit, and maybe I need to add five yards to whatever I hit my normal max distance on a wedge or a 9-iron or whatever.
I really wasn't thinking too much about that. I just was going for my stock number and all that good stuff. You know, it really just depends on the scenario. I mean, I can't sit there and say that I won't take a risk if I'm in that situation again, or I can't sit there and say I won't play to the middle of the green and try and make the putt. I mean, that's just all in the moment. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Q. When is the last time it took two days for you to get over a tournament?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I think we've all had times where it's been tough, whether it be -- I think I had -- in Houston this year, I eagled No. 15 to get three back at the time of Adam Scott, and then I ended up finishing bogey, par, double, and that was kind of a hard thing to kind of swallow that night and then obviously the next day.
You know, I take my golf seriously, and I feel like if I made a mistake, I can accept the fact of making a bad swing; that happens. But a mental error where you caused a mistake, where you didn't need to, basically an unforced error, sometimes I have a hard time accepting that. But that's the learning curve. I'm learning, and this is my third year on TOUR, and -- but Players was probably the biggest stage I've ever been in, period. And it was an awful lot of fun.
But I don't think that's going to be the last time I'll be in that position.

Q. Taking 17 completely out of the equation, can you look back to that tournament and look at all the positives, that you were at that point and you were the only guy that really had a shot at catching Phil?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, that's all I've really taken from Players is just the fact that I played against the best field in golf, basically, and kept up with them. I played some great golf. I played 70 holes of some pretty spectacular golf.
You know, I think that's saying that what I'm working on in my game is coming around, and I think that I have what it takes to win big golf tournaments. I just need a little bit more experience, I think, and I just need to put myself in that position to win more often.
I think the one thing that I learned more than anything was that you can't force a win. You can't -- you can just put yourself in the position and hit the golf shots, and if you get beat, you get beat. I think sometimes when you're really trying to win a golf tournament, you know, you might make some decisions that you wouldn't normally make, and I did a good job of that for 70 holes.
You know, and then you've got two more holes left, it's either get it done or don't get it done, and that was it. But I can't -- I look back and I sit there and I say, I hit a good shot. And it hasn't affected my confidence, hasn't affected anything. If anything it gets me more juiced to want to get back in that stage, because like I said, it was a lot of fun (smiling). It's a lot better than trying to make the cut by a shot on Friday.

Q. Is that how you've been able to have -- how did you psychologically get it out of your head?
SEAN O'HAIR: It wasn't a big deal to me. A lot of people have come up to me and said, "How do you get over something like that?" There's nothing to get over. I hit a great shot, it just didn't come off. You know, I hit a good putt on 16, I hit a good putt on 15, it just wasn't my time. I mean, I'm a true believer in it's either your time to win or it's not your time to win. You see a guy like Tiger who wins a ton, and that's just because he's better than everybody else, and that's my goal is to get to where I can just play golf and I'm good enough to where I just win a lot. I think that's everybody's goal out here, and that's why you see everybody working as hard as they're doing. They're trying to be the best player in the world.
There's nothing for me to get over. I had a great event, and I look forward to the future.

Q. I think part of the reason why the media is all talking about this, too, is I think for a lot of golf fans out there, seeing how you approached that shot, and everybody is looking to find someone besides Phil that can beat Tiger, and by you approaching it the way you did, it makes the average golf fan think if Sean is in a position to beat Tiger, he's going to play as hard as he can and not back off. Do you feel that a little bit?
SEAN O'HAIR: That's a flattering comment because obviously Tiger is the best player that golf has probably seen, besides maybe Nicklaus. But I've got a lot of work to do. I think I'm far from being where I want to be and competing against the best players in the world on a consistent basis. I think what I've proven, though, is that when the best players in the world are playing their best and I'm playing my best, I think I can hold my own with them, and it's just a matter of maybe getting a little more experience under my belt and just getting a little bit better.

Q. Is there a part of your game you're currently working on, and if so, what are you doing specifically?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I mean, pretty much everything. I'm trying to obviously get to be a better ball striker, more fairways, more greens, and then just make more putts. I mean, that's basically the basics in the game is -- that's the basics to scoring.
But there's a few things, technically, that I'm working on, on my down swing, that's helping me, and it has helped me. I'm just going to continue to work on those things. And then obviously just wear out the short game and try to get better with the wedges and better with the putting.
STEWART MOORE: Sean, thanks so much for coming in, and best of luck this week.

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