Sean O'Hair has seen both highs and lows during his PGA Tour career, and he believes his unique path affords him some added insight on the struggles of this week's most notable absence at the Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tiger Woods.
O'Hair won his first event in 2005 at age 22 and added three more victories from 2008-2011, but he has struggled with consistency in recent years and last season had to earn his card back at the Web.com Tour Finals. Once again equipped with full-time status, he parlayed a sponsor invite into a playoff loss last week at the Valspar Championship and now has his highest spot in the world ranking in nearly two years.
When it comes to Woods, an eight-time winner at Bay Hill who announced Friday that he would be skipping this week's event to continue working on his game, O'Hair recognizes a look that he once saw in himself.
"I just think that he's lost," O'Hair said Tuesday. "The only reason why I say that is because I see it in his eyes, and I see it in how he's walking and I see it in how he's playing because that's where I've been. I've been living it."
Woods last played at the Farmers Insurance Open in February, and while his return to competition remains unknown, O'Hair believes the largest battle facing the 14-time major champion is a mental one.
"I just think that his mind is just a little clouded and I don't think it has anything to do with his golf swing," he said. "I just think there's something there that's just bothering him and I think once he addresses that he'll be right back where he was."