Rookie OHair Putting Troubled Past to Rest
It's the other stuff, the 'bad stuff,' that O'Hair doesn't want to discuss.
The 'bad stuff' is one reason he had a sports psychologist walking with him at Pebble Beach last week. The 'bad stuff' is why O'Hair hasn't talked to his father in two years.
O'Hair is a 22-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour with a story that will startle some, and be all too familiar to others. It's a story that millions can relate to, the story of a domineering father who had plans for his son and who went to extremes to make it come true.
When O'Hair told it before, he talked of long days on the road with his father, quitting high school to become a pro golfer at the age of 17 and then struggling to get into minor league tournaments. The two put 91,000 miles on a Ford Taurus trying to make O'Hair good enough to make the PGA tour.
Sean O'Hair talked about his father running his life with a military precision, getting him up at 5 a.m. to run and making him practice hours upon hours. When he failed - and he failed often - he would sometimes have to run a mile for every stroke he was over par during a round.
Father and son were interviewed in 2002 by '60 Minutes II' and Marc O'Hair estimated he'd spent $2 million trying to make his son into a professional golfer, selling his part of a business and moving the family from Arizona to Florida when Sean was 15 so he could attend the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
This wasn't just fatherly love. O'Hair had a business interest in his son, and a signed contract giving him 10 percent of his son's earnings for life.
'I was in a business for 20-plus years, and I know what it takes to make a profit. You've got the same old thing. It's material, labor and overhead,' the father said, adding:
'He's pretty good labor.'
O'Hair wasn't good enough, but he grew tough trying. He came out of nowhere to earn a tour card at qualifying school in December, and now is the second youngest member of the PGA Tour.
The card came at a cost. Since marrying his wife two years ago, he's been estranged from his father. He's about to become a new father himself, and his wife's father now caddies for him.
And, while originally eager to tell his side of a nasty family breakup, O'Hair now politely declines to answer.
'What's been said has been said,' O'Hair said after his opening around in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. 'I just want to concentrate on golf now.'
O'Hair concentrated well enough last week to use a third-round 65 to earn $40,015. He needed the boost in confidence, after shooting an 83 in the first round in Phoenix a week earlier.
His father, who could not be reached for comment, boasted to Golf World magazine earlier this year that his vision of making Sean into a PGA Tour player worked even better than he thought.
It also left O'Hair with a burden he will long struggle to shed.
'The most unfortunate potential effect is the young person is going to grow up feeling valued or loved not for who they are, but for what they accomplish,' said Dr. Dan Neuharth, who wrote the book, 'If You Had Controlling Parents.'
'For the rest of your life you think you have to be a certain way for people, not just be yourself. It's hard to trust people after something like that.'
With every bit of success, O'Hair will be asked about his relationship with his father. He won't be able to escape his past, just as Vijay Singh is still linked to an alleged cheating incident 20 years later.
That's why it was troubling when his attorney-agent, Michael Troiani, threatened last week not to allow O'Hair to speak to a reporter 'when he becomes a star' because he had asked about the 'bad stuff.'
Hopefully, Troiani was trying to be protective because O'Hair hardly needs another controlling authority figure in his life. And, hopefully he has a better understanding of law than he does about the way the media functions and the world works.
You see, people want to know about O'Hair's triumph over adversity. They want to cheer when he has success, and feel his pain when he fails.
Neuharth estimates 15 million American adults suffer from issues related to growing up with controlling parents. Many struggle to understand why they have problems.
'If you grow up with a very dominating parent you don't really know that is abnormal. You think everyone grew up like that,' he said. 'When people find out that it's essentially not their fault, it can be really helpful.'
One way they find out is by hearing stories like O'Hair's, and knowing they're not alone.
O'Hair doesn't need to become the poster boy for parental control issues. But he'd be wise not to run from the questions that will come at every tour stop.
It may not be fair, but it's just one more burden he'll have to bear.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.
Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan
Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.
Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.
Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:
“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”
Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.
“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”
Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.
“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.
“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”
Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.
“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.
Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:
Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017