After identity crisis, O'Hair gets fresh start

By Doug FergusonOctober 8, 2013, 11:22 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – The greeting from Frys.com Open president Duke Butler is meant as a joke, even though it has some truth to it.

''Happy New Year,'' he tells players when they arrive at CordeValle Golf Club. That's still 85 days away – except on the PGA Tour calendar. For the first time, it goes to a wraparound 2013-14 season that begins Thursday.

Sean O'Hair is most likely to take him at his word. Not only is it a new year, it feels like a new start.

Just over a week ago, O'Hair completed one of the most gratifying months of his career with his best result of the season. It was only a tie for eighth. And it was on the Web.com Tour. But it meant he could keep his job.

''Got it done,'' he said. ''Got my card back.''

The first step forward was to take what felt like 100 steps back. Just four years removed from beating Ernie Els in singles at the Presidents Cup, O'Hair went through such a miserable year that he wasn't sure he wanted to keep playing golf.

He lost confidence in his swing. He suffered what he called an identity crisis on the golf course.

''I forgot myself as a player, how I swung and how I played,'' O'Hair said. ''And then taking that on the golf course, I almost forgot how to act and how to think. I really just got to a point where I just kind of was blank out there and lost my fight. Anything you could possibly do wrong, I did wrong this year. I just had to take a step back and had to first ask myself, 'Do I really want to do this anymore?'''

Burnout at age 32 would be understandable.

O'Hair was a product of an overzealous father who was caught up in the arrival of Tiger Woods a generation ago. He groomed the boy to be a golfer and made him run a mile for every bogey. O'Hair eventually sought his own way.

With a new wife, and his father-in-law as his caddie and calming influence, O'Hair won the John Deere Classic in 2005 and reached the Tour Championship as a rookie. He won three more times, including the Quail Hollow Championship just two months after losing a five-shot lead to Woods.

Woods used to wonder if O'Hair's regimented upbringing made his mind tougher or his heart too tender.

O'Hair was never tested more than he was this year.

''Do I really want to do this anymore?''

''I don't want to be mediocre,'' O'Hair said. ''I still think I've got my best golf ahead of me. That's kind of what answered that question for me. I don't want to just hang around and be one of these struggling journeymen. I did that early in my career, and I don't want to do that again.''

He began working with Washington psychologist Julie Elion this summer. For the Web.com Tour Finals, the four tournaments he played to earn one of 25 cards, he put father-in-law Steve Lucas back on the bag. At home outside Philadelphia, he began working on his putting with the pro at White Manor, John Dunigan, who used to teach O'Hair's wife before she went to Florida Atlantic.

It was humbling to return to the Web.com Tour, but O'Hair saw it as the only way back.

''A gut shot,'' he said. ''It was like, 'Do I really want to do this?' There were a lot of tears this year. It was hard. It was hard on my wife. It was hard on me.''

O'Hair wasn't the only player who had to start over.

Ryo Ishikawa, who played on the previous two Presidents Cup team and began racking up wins on the Japan Golf Tour when he was 15, for years had it easy. He received three special invitations to the Masters. He received rock-star status and could get whatever sponsor exemption he wanted. But he failed to keep his PGA Tour card. So as contemporary Hideki Matsuyama was getting ready for the Presidents Cup, Ishikawa was at Web.com Tour events in Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina.

He has his card again. He earned it.

So did Heath Slocum, who just four years ago made a 20-foot par putt to win The Barclays over Woods, Els, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington.

''In a 12-year career, you can take a lot for granted,'' Slocum said.

All of them are at the Frys.com Open, wanting to get a head start on what feels like a second chance. It doesn't figure to be easy. Jack Nicklaus said last week, ''We've got more good young players than we've ever had before.''

O'Hair is 31, the father of four. His world ranking is No. 301. He has a long way to go, and the Frys.com Open is only a start.

But at least it's a start.

''I was in this situation and could either say, 'I should be here' or 'I should be there' and kind of sulk about it,'' O'Hair said. ''But instead I thought, 'You know what? I'm here. It is what it is. And I need to make the best of it and I need to humble myself to where I'm just any Joe Blow. I need to earn my spot again. I was glad I did that.''

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”