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May 15, 2005

Sean O'Hair


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome runner-up Sean O'Hair to the 2005 EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Sean, you hung in there through eight holes, lost the lead on No. 9, came back with birdies on 2 and your last three holes to finish one stroke back. A heck of a day for you, a heck of a week.

SEAN O'HAIR: I appreciate it. I played really hard today. Sometimes you play well by striking the ball well or you play well with your short game, and I think obviously the ball-striking wasn't there today. I think I played with a lot of heart out there today, and I'm really happy with myself. I couldn't be happier for Ted. He's long overdue. I played with him yesterday, and a heck of a nice guy and a class act, so I'm really happy for him.

TODD BUDNICK: You've only played 12 events on the PGA TOUR and you're just shy of a million dollars already. When you went through Q-school last year, did you think you'd have this type of success so early?

SEAN O'HAIR: No, I thought it was going to take me a lot longer than this to kind of just get comfortable out here. After the first few weeks, I started getting really comfortable and started playing some decent golf, but I learned a lot today or this week about how to play out here. I think this week for me was more about making the pars and letting the birdies fall. I think I said that the last couple days.

In the past, the past few events, I've had bad days, and it's because I think I've been trying to make the birdies too hard or too much or whatever. I just really learned a lot about myself and learned a lot about how to play out here, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk about that putt on 18, the 14-footer. You knew you couldn't win, yet you drilled it just to kind of put an emphasis on it.

SEAN O'HAIR: I wanted to get a little closer to the hole on that approach shot. I pushed it just a hair. I really wanted to make that putt. I really did, just to prove something to myself. I'm just really pleased with that, and there's nothing negative about this week. You know, I played my guts out today, it just wasn't meant to be. Like I said, I couldn't be happier for Ted.

Q. I'm just wondering, if someone would have offered you 68 before you teed it up today, would you have taken that?

SEAN O'HAIR: No, I kind of knew it was going to be 15 or better today. You know, I definitely was playing to win. I wasn't out there -- I definitely knew what was going on. My instructor Steve Dahlby told me don't really pay attention to the scoreboards on the front, just play your game, and once you get to the back, just check it out and see what you need to do.

I did that, and I'm the type of player that likes to know what I need to do. I knew Ted was playing good. He was 14, I think, at one point, and then I got -- did he birdie 16? Yeah, birdied 16 to go to 15, and I knew that putt on 16 for me was big.

And then I knew on 17, with that putt, I knew I needed to make that and try to -- then try to birdie 18 to win, but it just didn't work out. You know, it just didn't work out.

Q. It looked like you really held your composure well all throughout the whole day. How did you feel out there? Did you feel nervous at all?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, it was good nervous. It was more butterflies, anticipation to get out there and compete. I think that was more the feeling. You know, I learned a lot about that, how to handle myself during the nights. You've just got to keep yourself busy. I mean, the thoughts are going to come into your head, and the more I get in this situation, the more comfortable I'm going to be with it. But I think I handled myself pretty good, this being my first time.

Q. Do you talk to yourself out there? Were you trying to get your composure?

SEAN O'HAIR: Oh, yeah. There was one point where I told myself to get my head out of my butt.

Q. Is that what you said?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I said something a little different (laughing), but I think it was after 10 where I knocked it in the woods. I really was just a hair bit off on my ball-striking today, just a hair. You know, if I was just hitting it like I was the last few days, it might have been a different story.

But I kind of struggled with the left side today, missed a few shots to the left, and that's my nemesis right there. I think I played a good round for not quite being 100 percent there.

Q. Do you think there's a day coming based on how you played this week where you're in this exact same position and you're more upset with yourself than looking at the silver lining?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't know, it all depends. You know, it's a different situation for every event. For me right now, it's more a matter of this week I proved a lot to myself, and I didn't go out there and play that bad today. I played a pretty solid round. Like 9 and 14, I hit good shots into those greens, I mean, really good shots, and they just didn't turn out the way I wanted them to and ended up making bogeys there.

You know, I'm sure if I was in this situation and I maybe blew a big lead or something like that, I'd probably be kicking myself a little bit. I didn't get my own way. That was kind of the key for me today. I told you guys yesterday the key for me to play well is not to get ahead of myself. I played every shot today with 110 percent effort and I just busted my butt out there, so I'm really happy.

Q. Where you are right now, the five months into your rookie season, are you satisfied with yourself?

SEAN O'HAIR: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. This week I've got to be honest, this week was kind of out of the middle of nowhere. You know, I've been hitting the ball well, been putting well, but I just didn't think I had the experience yet to be in this situation. I'm just really, really happy with my situation.

I've got a lot of great friends that came and watched today, and I've got great family, and I was really proud and happy to share that with them.

Q. Along those lines to follow up on that, much has been made of your past over the last couple of days, and it's almost like you've been defined by that a little bit. Do you feel you're making a turn toward another definition about yourself toward more of the future, not so much the past?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I'm really happy with my life. I've got great friends. I've got a couple guys over there looking out for me. It's kind of hard to get in trouble. I've got a great wife and a beautiful baby, and I've just got great people supporting me. Whenever you've got great people behind you and you're in that state of mind as far as being happy with yourself, being happy with your life, it's kind of hard not to succeed, even if it's not on the golf course. I mean, I'm going to be a happy person if I'm not playing well, and that's the key.

It used to be where if I didn't play well I was an unhappy person. I don't think your golf game depicts who you are as a person.

Q. One of your consolations with today, you've got your card locked up for next year. After all you've been through, the years where you didn't play, what does that mean to you?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, now that I've got a taste of this, my feelings are "let's go win a few tournaments." I'm not going to get ahead of myself. I'm not going to put a bunch of pressure on myself after this week. You know, I played great. Not every week am I going to play great, but I learned a lot today and this week, and I'm going to use that for the rest of this year. I'm just going to work my butt off and hopefully I'll be in this situation a lot more this year.

Q. Is it nice to know you've got a place to play this year and next, though?


Q. Throughout this whole process, today you've officially broken through on the PGA TOUR. Has there ever been any apprehension about success given what's been made about what your father would do if you made it?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't think there was ever a doubt. You know, I've always believed in -- is that your question?

Q. Like did you ever worry about, "Hey, I'm going to break out and I know I'm going to break out, but he says he's going to try and trash me in the media if I break out"?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't worry about that.

Q. You talked about you felt like you hit good shots in at 9 and 14. I guess 14 did the ball kind of sail, was it downwind or adrenaline?

SEAN O'HAIR: 14, I hit a great shot there off the tee, and it was 157 to the back edge. I'm trying to remember what it was to the pin. It was about 148 or 149 to the pin, and then whatever it was to the front, and my thing was, you know, the wind was behind me, and it definitely was not a wedge. I mean, there's no way I can hit a wedge that far. To be honest with you, I just -- I hit a great shot. I wanted to aim it a little bit to the right of the pin, and if it drew, great, if it didn't, it's perfect, and -- I don't know, does anybody know, did I hit on the green?

Q. On the fringe.

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I was shocked, absolutely shocked. I guess it was just adrenaline. I mean, there's no way I could have hit a wedge there. You know what, I can't be upset with that. I committed to a golf shot, I hit a good golf shot, it just didn't turn out. I can't tell you how good of a bunker shot that was. That was a heck of a bunker shot, and it was just a terrible spot to be.

Q. When you got to the 16th tee, had you seen that Ted -- I guess he was 3 ahead of you at that time; were you thinking it was over then?

SEAN O'HAIR: I never thought it was over. Even on 18, I felt that, "Hey, anything is possible, I guess." You don't want to do anything stupid and fly it over the green or anything like that, but I just -- I can't control how Ted played today, and I just wanted to finish well, and I think I did. You know, I hit a good shot into 16 actually; I just pushed it a hair, got a little caught, and I hit a great chip shot and a great putt. That was a lot of fun. Those roars were pretty fun.

Q. I'm going to go ahead and ask a question even though I know it's a little bit of a sore subject. Your mom showed up today, your sister showed up today. That leaves one person who basically wasn't here. How do you suppose this was received in Lakeland, or do you even care?

SEAN O'HAIR: I love my dad, and I -- you know, I hope he's doing well. That's all I have to say about that.

Q. Now that you're a man of means, anything you're going to splurge on?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't know about that. A lot of people have gotten me here. I've got a lot of debts to pay.

Q. They showed the -- I'm just curious about something. They showed the 60 Minutes segment during the telecast today. From the last couple years when you've been hitting the mini-Tour circuits to where you are now, how much of the routine that you once went through do you go through now in terms of fitness, running, weights, and how much of that have you carved out on your own in terms of how you've prepared yourself?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, as far as fitness is concerned, I don't do too much of that as you can see. You know, it's just -- that's still something I'm working on. That's something so impressive about Vijay Singh that week in and week out, he just does the same thing over and over again, and that's why he's so good every week. A guy like me can learn so much from that.

To be quite honest with you, I don't think I have my routine down yet, I really don't. That's something I think you build throughout the years. I don't think it's something you just -- this situation out on Tour is a lot different than it was on the mini-Tours, totally different, and so there's definitely -- I mean, I learned a lot just by being in contention on a golf tournament. There's a lot of stuff involved, I mean, like this. This is the first week I've done this. Each week you kind of learn and hopefully as time goes on, I'll get a routine that works for me.

Q. You've played in 12 events. Was there an epiphany, if you will, say just before the tournament or after the second round that you found something?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, actually I've been hitting the ball well, like I said, coming into this event, but when I was playing the practice round, I had a weird feeling -- and it wasn't a good feeling, if anything. It wasn't like I was going to play really well this week; it was almost like I didn't quite feel comfortable. Last week was really tough in North Carolina. I hit a lot of good golf shots, and just because I didn't know the course, I didn't play as well as I would have liked.

You know, the course here really fits my eye, and I really wasn't comfortable on the front nine when I played TPC practice round, but when Todd Hamilton joined me on the back, I just got calm and felt good about anything. You know, it just was a great, great week.

Q. How good do you think you can be?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't know, we'll see, won't we? I don't know.

Q. How was breakfast this morning? Did you choke anything down?

SEAN O'HAIR: I got a tuna sandwich down, that was good, a little protein. I'm not much of a breakfast foods person. I'm kind of tired of the eggs and sausage. I ate some fruit this morning, some cereal, and felt a lot better today than I did yesterday. Actually I hit the ball better on the range today than I have all week and struggled a little bit on the golf course. You never know.

Q. I'm just curious what your schedule is coming up the next few weeks and whether this will change what you want to do.

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I'm going to take next week off. I need a little bit of a break. This was my fourth event in a row. Hopefully I played myself in Memorial. I think I did. And then my next event is FedEx, I believe it's FedEx, then Memorial, then hopefully Booz Allen.

Q. Where are you going to qualify for the Open?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, local. I've got to go to locals.

Q. When?

SEAN O'HAIR: Next week.

Q. Bring you right back down to earth quick, won't it?

SEAN O'HAIR: I don't think -- I don't know what the situation was. Even if I won today, I don't know if I would have played myself in or not. You know, you never know in a qualifier. I'm just going to go home, take a couple days off, play a practice round with my buddies, and hopefully go qualify for the U.S. Open.

Q. Where will you go local qualify?

SEAN O'HAIR: Back home. It's about an hour away. I know the golf course, I just can't think of it.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll start with the bogey on No. 3 today.

SEAN O'HAIR: No. 3, bogey, I hit a good drive, actually hit a good second shot, hit a 4-iron a little bit on the toe, short. Steve liked me to chip it, and I didn't quite feel comfortable with that, especially with the nerves going, so I thought it would be better for me to putt it, be a lot more accurate that way, and it was the right decision. I just didn't commit to the putt. I should have missed that putt because I didn't commit to it. So that was it.

Birdie on 7, that was -- I'll tell you what, I hit two good golf shots there but had a really tough first putt, quick and went right to left pretty good, so made a good lag putt and made the three-footer. I hit driver, 4-iron there.

Birdie next hole, that was good. I bombed a driver. I believe that was a 9-iron that I hit in there, just kind of knocked it down. Steve said, "It's not wedge," and I said, "Well, 9 is a lot," and he said, "It's not wedge." So I just bunted a 9 in there and it ended up being the right club.

Bogey on 9, hit a great 3-wood, hit a great 8-iron. I was absolutely shocked that didn't get to the hole. It just kind of hung up there, and maybe there was a little more wind than I thought. I actually hit a good chip shot, just checked up a little bit too much for me, and I actually hit a great putt, it just went the opposite way. That was one of those holes that could have very easily been a par.

Q. How far was that putt?

SEAN O'HAIR: Four, five feet.

Birdie on 13, par 3, that was good. That was real good. That was a tough shot, playing against the wind. The wind was a little bit right to left, and right when the club -- right when the ball came off the face, I knew it was going to be right there, and I made a tricky three-footer, so I was happy with that.

Q. What did you hit in there?

SEAN O'HAIR: 6-iron.

Bogey on 14, we talked about that.

Q. What did you hit in there?

SEAN O'HAIR: I hit 3-iron, 9-iron.

Q. Par 15, 16th?

SEAN O'HAIR: By the way, that was the longest 9-iron I've ever hit in my entire life.

16, hit a good drive, had about 223 to carry those bunkers on the right and figured a 4-iron would get there with the wind helping. I don't even think it would have gotten there if I hit a good shot. I tried to hit it up in the air too much and got underneath it and made a heck of a pitch shot, kind of had a squirrelly lie there and made a great putt there. That was a lot of fun.

18, hit a great drive and just a good solid wedge and made about a 14-footer.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much, Sean. Congratulations.

SEAN O'HAIR: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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