Monday, February 19, 2007

O'Hair's slow start

If you haven't been paying attention, Sean O'Hair, the third-year PGA Tour player from West Chester, has had his struggles so far in early 2007.

Hoping to merely knock some of the rust off his swing with a run of four straight tournaments, O'Hair went CUT-CUT-CUT in the first three, the Buick Invitational (73-74), the FBR Open (72-69) and the AT&T Pebble Beach (75-73-72). It didn't look good.

But at this past week's Nissan Open, O'Hair steadied his ship and shot 72-71-69-73, for a tie for 56th and his first paycheck of the year, $11, 596.

The difference in his stats between 2005, when he was rookie of the year and won the John Deere Classic, and this year, say it all.

In '05, he averaged 300.1 yards off the tee (23rd), compared to 291 yards (38th) this year; that mostly is because is O'Hair is hitting more 3-woods off the tee.

But in driving accuracy, he has dropped from 62nd to 127th, in greens in regulation from 40th to 127th, and in putting average from 149th to 171st. In all-around average, which is a combination of all the major stat categories, O'Hair has dropped from 32nd in 2005 to 153rd.

In O'Hair's defense, he spent the off-season in Philadelphia, far from the warmer climes where he could get his game in shape. Also, he and his wife Jackie welcomed their second child in mid-January.

It's early, obviously, but O'Hair needs to reverse those statistical trends if he's going to put together a good year.

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