OHair Faces Life as a Pop Himself

By George WhiteAugust 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
Sean OHair is a father now. His daughter is six months old, and hes experiencing first-hand all those things that parents do when they are trying to raise a happy, well-behaved child.
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.
Sean O
Sean O'Hair earned his first PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic.
I dont know either Sean or Marc personally, so Im not in a position to say who was right and who was wrong. Ive only read stories about the life of a boy who was brought up extremely strict, his teachings all devoted to that day when he would become a winner on the PGA Tour. That day came five weeks ago at the John Deere Classic.
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?
Sean O
O'Hair uses his father-in-law, Steve Lucas, as his caddie.
Regardless, the father-son situation has come and gone for Sean and Marc. It was botched painfully. But regardless of whose fault it was, Sean says the void has been filled by his in-laws. And that other life now seems so far removed.
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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Related Links:
  • Marc O'Hair's 17-page faxed document to The Golf Channel
  • Elder O'Hair Releases Son from Contracts
  • Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

    Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

    Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

    It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

    Goodbye and good riddance.

    The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

    “What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


    The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

    Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

    Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

    But at what cost?

    The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

    The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

    We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

    In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

    We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

    Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

    We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

    “What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

    Amen again.

    We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

    Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

    There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

    This is good governance.

    And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

    This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

    We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

    Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

    Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

    Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”