Sean doesnt see ' or speak ' to his own father now. The story has become old news, but OHair the elder and OHair junior had a falling-out three of years ago. Marc OHair spent the better part of 20 years rigidly controlling Seans life, trying his best to produce a professional golfer. Rightly or wrongly, he finally proved too overbearing for Sean, who got out from under his fathers supervision when he met and married a girl he met ' not surprisingly ' on a golf course in 2002. There has been no communication since.
His father wasnt there to celebrate with him. His natural family wasnt there to celebrate with him. His celebrating was with his in-laws, while Marc set at home in Lakeland, Fla., bitter and silent.
Sean does his best to soft-pedal the story now. The older he gets, the less harsh he becomes with the memories of his father. Marc maintains stony silence, saying he no longer will do interviews after a recent ESPN account of the father-son relationship was, in Marcs opinion, extremely unflattering. In a fax to the Golf Channel last week, Marc said he was releasing Sean from the contract we have.
That contract stated that Sean was to give his father 10 percent of all he made ' for life. It should be noted that father spent much of the familys bankroll trying to prepare Sean for life as a professional golfer. Sean has been a professional since he was 17, before he completed high school.
And now, Sean is launching out into his own life as a father. Will he be too strict with his own child? Too lax? He is feeling his way along, trying to avoid the pitfalls of either.
The tough thing about it is, there's a fine line between being supportive and being overbearing, explained Sean in a news conference this week at The International. Because obviously being a parent, me being a parent, I want the best for my daughter.
I'm going to do whatever it takes for her to have the best. But I think, too, you also have to know when to let them make their own mistakes, let them learn on their own.
He believes that would have been, by far, the best road for his father Marc to take. Of course, such is the opinion of most teen-agers. The problem is, naturally, when have you given the child enough rope to learn lifes intricate lessons? And contrastingly, when have you given them so much rope that you arent doing your parenting successfully?
You know, it's just something that you really don't think about, he says. It's in the past, and it almost feels like another life. So it's almost like it never happened, to be honest with you.
Without mentioning his own father as an example, Sean said the typical little-league father syndrome is much more common than is generally realized. I think it's very common. I don't think a lot of people know this, that it's common that parents, I guess you could say, get a little too involved or whatever.
Sean says kids need to occasionally be spoken to in a stern manner. He is only 23, has been a father less than a year, but he says he realizes partially what a parent goes through. Not all children are alike, of course, and the thing that one child might react to positively, another might take offensively. It is, he said, a very fine line.
I just think that what parents should do is (what is) the best for your kids, Sean said. And there comes a time that - hey, just let the kids have fun, because that's what it's all about.
OHair knows that this subject will be hashed and rehashed repeatedly the more successful he becomes. Nothing like having your dirty laundry aired in public. He is suffering the most extreme effects of his childhood ' the lack of communication with a father who was probably too overbearing. And he is dealing with it the best way he knows how.
You know, that's another part of my life that I've dealt with already, and it would be stupid of me to bring that back in my life, he says. So he and his father maintain their stony silence, both feeling deeply aggrieved, but neither one able ' or willing ' to settle the old issues.
And meanwhile, Sean has moved on to become someone himself who will lead, guide, mold a young life. Will his daughter be a golfer herself? Art teacher? Maybe a politician? Housewife?
He himself never got burned out on golf, despite the regimen he had to follow as a youth. It was extremely difficult, he says, but he was introduced to a sport that has become a life work.
I think, No. 1, there was something inside me that just wouldn't give up, he said. I can't see myself doing anything else.
This is what I wanted to do and whatever that was, love of the game or whatever, I just wanted to be out here. I wanted to be out here really bad and I wasn't going to really let anything get in the way. I don't know, that's just the way it was.
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