January 17, 2006
LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA
TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Sean O'Hair to the 2006 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Sean last year was Rookie of the Year, one victory, runner up. Quite a season for your first year on the PGA TOUR. Now that you've had some time to look back over the off season, tell us a little about give us some thoughts on that first season on TOUR.
SEAN O'HAIR: Obviously a little bit more than expected. Played a little bit better and, you know, it just was kind of one of those years that you start playing decent and then decent turns into good and then good turns into something a little bit better, and then kind of snowballed on me a little bit. It's definitely something I'll never forget, and you're only a rookie ONCE. So it's kind of cool to be Rookie of the Year.
You know, obviously I was very fortunate to have a year like that. Learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I just look forward to this year.
TODD BUDNICK: What was the toughest aspect of that freshman season, and for a rookie coming out this year what kind of advice would you give them?
SEAN O'HAIR: I think the toughest thing is to stick with what got you here. You know, because obviously you're doing something right to get to this point, and then you come out and then you start seeing different routines, you start seeing some of the guys that you look up to doing different things than you are, but it's just kind of hard to get yourself to stay calm and to stay in your game and do what you do best. That would be, you know, that was the hardest thing for me last year to get into, and that would be my advice for rookies this year is to just stick with what got you here and I still struggle with that. Every day, I fight trying to work trying to work on new things instead of working on what got me here so it's kind of a little bit of a mental struggle. When you're able to control that, you normally play pretty good.
TODD BUDNICK: Along those lines, you have a two year exemption now, so there's a little bit of freedom, but do you stick to what got you here?
SEAN O'HAIR: I'm going to tweak a few things here and there, but I'm still I'm not looking at that two year exemption as, hey, I've got room to kind of relax a little bit. I still am going to work harder and hopefully get better.
But, you know, I don't want to put any pressure on myself to try to overdo last year, try to have a better year last year even though that would be great. I just want to come out here and enjoy myself and enjoy each and every week and I think last week last year I t was more of a grinding each and every week.
This year I'm going to try to have a little more fun while I'm working and hopefully get better and hopefully have a better year.
TODD BUDNICK: What would be a successful follow up season for you?
SEAN O'HAIR: I think improving on some of the stats from last year. Short game struggled a little bit and it's already a lot better. And just money wise I'm already at a better start.
I'm kind of a slow starter to the beginning of the years, and I just want to get to a quicker start a little bit and, you know, there's a lot of things that would be nice. Obviously playing on the Ryder Cup would be great. Obviously winning once or more would be great. Just putting yourself in the situation to have to worry about winning or anything like that, just putting yourself in that position would be great every week.
But you're not going to do that. I don't know, hopefully just improve on some things I want to improve on and the results will come.
Q. How many times have you played this course and what do you think of it for a new course?
SEAN O'HAIR: I played this course for the first time.
SEAN O'HAIR: Today. It's beautiful. The conditions, you can't beat the conditions.
And it's a fun course. It's long, if they play it all the way back, it's very long. And the greens are just perfect, so it's going to be a good week for scoring this week I think.
Q. Talk a little about your thought process to coming here, why did you pick this place, why did you wants to play here?
SEAN O'HAIR: I wasn't going to play in this event because I needed I thought when I was doing my schedule last year I thought that I needed a break after the long travel from Hawaii. I'm a little bit rusty, I was a little bit rusty the last couple of weeks and to be honest with you, I don't feel like going home, so I decided to come here and play. I'm hitting the ball fairly decent and rolling it all right and hopefully we have a good week.
It was just kind of more of a last minute decision. You know, the more I play, the better it is for my game. So that's pretty much why I'm here.
Q. So it has nothing to do with the facility or the course itself; it was more your game?
SEAN O'HAIR: To be honest with you, every single site on the PGA TOUR is pretty much a great golf course. And like this, this here, you can't beat these conditions and these courses. You know, that was just more of a bonus for me, because like I said, the ride over here was fairly long being in Hawaii and I kind of got beat up in Hawaii. I was planning on just taking this week off but, you know, being out here it's kind of nice because I used to live out in Scottsdale so it's kind of like being in Scottsdale and you're playing great golf courses in great conditions with great greens.
And so I'm really glad I came here because it kind of shows me that my game is not so far away that I thought last week when the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour and the greens are grainy and you think you're a mile away, when really, you're right there. So hopefully I'll play well this week.
Q. I guess every course is kind of a new course for you, or at least it was last year. Have you played any of these courses before?
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I didn't play this tournament last year. I played obviously the Stadium Course during Q School, but these courses are fairly new.
They don't seem really tricked up at all. They are just good, solid golf courses. They are great layouts, great conditions. There's really nothing I mean, the greens aren't very grainy at all. Really, just got to know where Indio is and that's pretty much where the slope it going. But as far as grain, there's nothing to look for.
This is just as pure as golf gets right here in my opinion. So I'm not worried too much about course knowledge.
Q. The Indio slope, does that still hold true out here?
SEAN O'HAIR: I think so. I think so. You're still on a side slope a little bit from the mountains. I did find on the golf course today that things did tend to go towards Indio. And I played, where, did I play, I played the PGA private course yesterday and that's even more so where you've got even more break because you're right there up against the mountains.
But I mean that's it. I mean, that's about all there is. This is a new course I think for everybody, but this is nothing but good, solid golf. So I'm very much looking forward to playing this week.
Q. With the absence of a lot of the top players not being here, is the mindset, hey, the door is a little more open this week?
SEAN O'HAIR: I'm sure some guys are thinking that. For me, I'm just kind of trying to I'm just looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and starting off decent.
Last couple weeks have been a little bit difficult for me scoring wise and I just want to get off to a good start and get some momentum going. Hopefully, you know, if things go well, hopefully I'll have to worry about that Saturday night.
But for me right now, I'm looking forward to getting out there. I just want to have a good time this week and just play like I know how to play.
Q. So your mindset is the same seeing the list of players that are here, as opposed to saying if Vijay was here and Tiger was here?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, the guys out here are not here to make cuts, they are out here to win. Doesn't matter who is in the field.
Now, obviously, you think about, well, Tiger, Vijay, some of the better players aren't here, but Phil's here, and he's not too shabby. (Smiling).
To be honest with you if the best players or every single player that was No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, if everybody was here, I guarantee you it would still be the same winning score on Sunday.
So I mean, somebody is going to be feeling it this week and somebody is going to go real low. So it doesn't matter who is here. You're going to have to play some pretty darned good golf to win.
Q. What about a five round tournament on four different courses, can you handle that?
SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, actually it's going to be kind of nice change of pace a little bit. I guess I'll get four rounds in, you know, because the cut is not until after the fourth round, so that's a positive no, I'm just joking.
I'm actually very much looking forward to it. I think playing with the amateurs, it kind of makes you a little more relaxed, and I play better whenever I'm a little bit relaxed, and I think everybody does pretty much.
It will be fun. Then hopefully we're having a good time and playing well and then hopefully the final group would be nice on Sunday. You know, the five days, I think the more golf, the better for me. It just means you have that much more of a chance to either run away from the pack or gain ground. So I think the more golf, the better.
Q. Talk about last year and what was the reaction from some of the older veteran players to the success that you had last year?
SEAN O'HAIR: I've had a lot of people that have come up and said, you know, nice playing last year, and that's been great. Because, you know, some of the players that have come up and said that are some pretty well established players.
Last year was just, you know, one of those years that you just dreamed about, really. I actually started off the year terribly. I missed I think I missed three out of five cuts at the beginning of the year and just kind of from there just started playing some consistent golf and went on from there.
As far as the veteran players out here, they are awesome. Like Davis Love, Tiger, a lot of these guys out here that have been out here for a while, they are very nice in showing me some things whenever I had a question or kind of showing me around the ropes a little bit.
It's just one of those years that you just never forget.
Q. Have there been any comparisons between you and Davis? You bring him name up.
SEAN O'HAIR: No, I don't think (laughter) I don't think I've played well enough to be compared to Davis.
That would be great later on down the line. For me, I just, like I said, I kind of look at some of the top players and like a Tiger, like a Davis what were they doing at my age, how did their progression go on TOUR. Let's face it, I had a great year last year, but I'm not going to jump to No. 1 or No. 2 or even Top 10 in the world unless I have a phenomenal year.
I just plan on slowly establishing myself on TOUR hopefully and hopefully I have a long and successful career. That's what I'm looking forward to.
Q. Said you weren't going to make any drastic changes but some areas you wanted to focus on, what are those specifically?
SEAN O'HAIR: Lag putting was a problem for me last year strictly due to just distance.
Overall putting stroke, there's nothing I want to work on with my putting stroke. I think I have a fairly decent putting stroke. I just want to work on more of a routine with my putting. That's really all I want to work on with that.
You know, pitching was a little about the off last year. I want to get a little bit sharper with that. That's just more of a plane issue with my swing.
I'm working pretty heavily with David Leadbetter, and he's already helped me a tremendous amount. Just trying to sharpen things up with the short game, really. I think overall, I was a little bit I was happy with the ball striking, and I think as time goes on, I'll just get better and better with that.
You know, short game is just a matter of putting the work into it and obviously with the putter, it's just all about confidence. So I just plan on working with that. I just want to keep it as simple as possible so I can go out there and score.
Q. What is your schedule like for the West Coast Swing?
SEAN O'HAIR: Well, right now I plan on skipping Phoenix. But I'm not tired at all, so I thought I would be a little bit more tired than I am. So I'm actually considering playing Phoenix, I'm not 100% sure on that. But I plan on playing AT&T, Nissan, and then obviously which would be great, the World Golf Championships, and then go from there.
I plan on pretty much finishing out the West Coast.
TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Sean. Good luck this week.
End of FastScripts.