Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sean O'Hair 3rd round interview

After a 69 on Saturday, Sean O'Hair is three shots off Rod Pampling's lead. Here is his third round interivew:

PGA Tour: We'd like to welcome Sean O'Hair to the interview room here at the Memorial Tournament, Sean, great third round, 69 today, 2-over through 6 but an eagle at 7 gets you back to even, three birdies on the back to get you back to 3-under. Talk a little bit about your round.

SEAN O'HAIR: I felt like I hit the ball fairly decent all day today. You know, I hit some nice shots. I hit a nice solid 5-wood on 5, just a great shot, and a little bit left of where I wanted, and it just caught the hill. I mean, if it carries a yard farther I'm right there and hopefully I get back to even par, but I made bogey because I hit it in the water. Then I made the bunker shot on 7 to get it back to even. So that was a huge momentum builder. You know, I hit a lot of great putts today that were -- felt like the greens were a lot faster today and a lot firmer, so I was above the pin a lot, and I just was kind of -- it's almost like you're just lagging it and hopefully they go in. It was kind of frustrating because I was leaving them all short, and they were right in the heart. I think I lipped out four putts today. So I think today was just a great day of patience. I showed a great day of patience today, so that was huge for me.

PGA Tour: Real quickly if you could just take us through the eagle on 7 and then the few birdies.

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah. 7, I hit a huge drive. I don't know how far I had, but I think I only had like 209 to the pin, kind of cut the corner there. Then hit a 4-iron a little too far and went in the back right bunker, and then the bunker shot is downhill and it kind of winds in and out and it's kind of on the crown so if you're too far left it'll go left and if you're too far right it'll go right. I was fortunate to pick the right line, and thank God I hit the pin because that was going off the green. So it was nice to get a little fortune there. And then 13, I hit a nice drive, and I had like a little knock-down 9-iron, trying to chase a 9-iron to the back left pin, and I hit it perfectly and I think I almost holed it, and I had like an uphill seven-footer and made that. And 14 I hit a nice little 3-iron down there and played the wedge -- I kind of pushed my wedge shot a little bit, but I hit it hard enough to where it was fine, and I made about a 15-footer right to left. 15, hit it on in two and three-putted for par. 16, knocked it to like five feet, four feet, uphill putt for birdie.

Q. The struggle on 15, what were your putts there, how far?

SEAN O'HAIR: I hit a great shot in there, hit it real high, and it hit pin high, and it just released. The greens are very firm. And that's just one of those putts that, you know, you can't get aggressive with it. I mean, I barely hit it, and it just kept trickling and trickling and trickling, and if putt passes the hole with any momentum at all it's off the green and goes all the way down to the bottom. I can't sit there and say I hit -- that it was a bad three-putt because I left myself a nice makeable putt. I had like a downhill four-footer. But it was a tough four-footer, and I hit a good putt, I just hit it too hard. Obviously it's upsetting, three-putting for par, but what are you going to do?

Q. Eagle on 7, I mean, the start wasn't obviously the way you wanted it. How key is that --

SEAN O'HAIR: Oh, it was huge. It's huge because whenever you're hitting good golf shots and you're hitting good putts, and I think I already hit two lips going into that hole, and not including the putts that I left short in the heart, you know, you feel like, hey, I'm playing some pretty nice golf and it's just not happening. So that was huge to make that shot and -- you know, and it just all kind of equals out in the long run. You know, you hit good putts and they lip out, and all of a sudden you make a shot that you probably shouldn't have. You know, that was a huge momentum builder.

Q. I can't remember, and pardon me for searching for a hook here, there was something along the line in your development where you had some Nicklaus books that helped you along the way. What was the story on that again?

SEAN O'HAIR: I was kind of struggling with my game a little bit, and I felt kind of lost in a way going into the John Deere. I think it was either Tuesday or Wednesday, I think it was Wednesday night, right before the tournament, I had an early tee time, I went and got some Nicklaus books and looked at them that night and just found something that made sense and just went with it, and I hit the ball fairly well the whole week.

Q. Did you just go down to the B. Dalton book store or something?

SEAN O'HAIR: I went to -- other than Barnes & Noble, what else there?

Q. Borders?

SEAN O'HAIR: I went to Borders.

Q. Just in the tournament area of town, Moline?

SEAN O'HAIR: I actually went to book store to get a psychology book to kind of get my head straight, and I'm like, you know what, let's get a Nicklaus book. It's got pictures. I didn't feel like reading that week, so I selected a picture book.

Q. Easier to digest, right?

SEAN O'HAIR: I think it was My Golden Lessons. You know the ones where it has the 100 whatever different lessons and they're like a page each and real simple stuff, and it just kind of shows an illustration.

Q. I think they're all out of Golf Digest from a couple years ago.

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it just clicked.

Q. You've had some good rounds in this tournament before, in contention again. How nice would it be, obviously everyone wants to win Jack's tournament?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I think the best way to say it is if -- I mean, if I won all the majors, let's just say I won all the majors, and at the end of my career I didn't win this tournament, I would not feel like it was quite complete. You know, this event and Arnold's event you want to win. That's from being a fan of the game and just to say you've done it is huge. Tiger doesn't have to worry about it. I think he's won every single tournament there is --

Q. Three times.

SEAN O'HAIR: This one is definitely one of those events you want to win. You've got THE PLAYERS you want to win, you've got bigger events like that, and this is definitely one of them.

Q. When you win a tournament at 22, do you feel like you're going to win a lot more often, and does it seem like a long time since then?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, it does seem like a long time since I won, but it's tough out here. I mean, these guys are really, really good. You can play some nice golf. Charles Howell is a perfect example. I mean, that guy is as good as it gets, and he's had, what, nine, ten seconds? That just goes to show you you can play some pretty phenomenal golf and not win. That shows you how good Vijay and Tiger and Phil and all those guys are to win multiple times every single year. And that's what you strive for. I think that's what obviously you'll see Charles do. I've played with him quite a bit. It's hard to win out here. It really is hard to win.

Q. You mentioned the psych book. Can you just talk about the mental grind of being a golfer? I've talked to a lot of guys this week, and football players you only hear about a line backer forgetting about a tackle, but golfers really deal with the mental anguish. Can you talk about that?

SEAN O'HAIR: It's not so much we forget how to do stuff, it's just believing in ourselves. I think self-doubt, positive self-talk, all those things, we try and work on. We try and always believe in what we're doing. I mean, I can sit there and video my swing and be with one coach and him telling me one thing and be with another coach and him telling me something different, and my swing on camera doesn't look different, but one guy might click, and that's what gives you confidence. And that's kind of been the case for me is that my instructor, he's kind of given me that confidence and that reassurance, that hey, I'm working on the right stuff and it's the right stuff to work on for me. As far as the grind, you've got the travel, you've got so much involved every single week, and it's just -- it's not just a game. It's like football, you've got just one game. I guess the best way to kind of compare it is like the NBA Playoffs. Those guys play a ton of games, and that's pretty grueling, and it's all compacted there. But like football, they get a week off or two weeks off in some cases. That's kind of like this. We're grinding from Monday to Sunday, and that's every single week pretty much.

Q. I know you picked up the Nicklaus book, but why were you looking for a psych book?

SEAN O'HAIR: I was in such a negative frame of mind. You know, I was telling myself I wasn't good and I should go find something else to do, and I don't know if I'm going to keep my card. Well, actually I kept my card by then, but just was, like, I just -- just telling myself everything I shouldn't have been telling myself, and that's kind of why I did it. But Jack saved the day.

Q. Did you tell Jack you bought his book?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I told him International of '05.

Q. Do you know this MacKenzie guy very well at all?

SEAN O'HAIR: Will MacKenzie? I know him. You know, I haven't hung out with him too much, but he's a great guy and he's a good player.

Q. I mean this in jest. Who's had the wilder time between high school and sort of arriving here, him or you?

SEAN O'HAIR: I've heard a little bit about his -- kind of what he did, and it's pretty interesting. I mean, that's definitely a good story to sit down and listen to over a drink or something.

Q. Tomorrow is not supposed to be a good weather day. Are you a good mudder? Are you a good player in the rain?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I feel like pretty much everybody is a good mudder out here. If we weren't, we wouldn't be out here. I think a lot of people feel that we're prima donnas that just like to play in perfect conditions and perfect golf courses, but on the mini-Tours, I experienced a lot of bad weather, a lot of bad golf courses and a lot of sloppy golf courses, and I'm sure a lot of these guys have. This is the PGA TOUR. You know, it's just like you've got to figure it out, and I mean, that's it. It's about just -- whether it be windy conditions, whether it be rain, whatever it is, you've just got to adjust your game, and that's all there is to it.

Q. Did you have some mini-Tours you kept playing even though there was puddles on the green?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, we played in events where there was lightning and we were dodging lightning bolts. That's the good old mini-Tours. You play in some conditions where it was blowing 60 miles an hour, and you've just got to figure it out. But it's just part of golf, I guess.

Sean O'Hair 2nd round interview

After a second round 70, Sean O'Hair is three shots off Adam Scott's lead of 12-under.

Here's his post-round interview after Friday's round.

Q. How was it out there today?

SEAN O'HAIR: My game or the golf course?

Q. Both.

SEAN O'HAIR: The golf course was great. You know, I think, like I said yesterday, I don't think the course isn't quite playing as fast as they'd like it. It's in phenomenal shape. The greens are the best on TOUR in my opinion. But the game was a little rough today, kind of all over the yard. I wasn't really consistent with my ball-striking. I was missing it right and left and just wasn't taking out one side of the golf course. I kind of just was -- I didn't really know where the ball was going. I hit a few good shots out there, but I feel like I'm putting well and I think my putting saved me today. You know, I'll figure it out today on the range, and hopefully play better tomorrow.

Q. The good news is you're still right there, still in the hunt, and you maybe feel like you left a few out there?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, you know, I was really happy being 3-under with where I was playing through 14, and I was figuring hit a good drive on 15. I'm hitting my 5-wood really well and my irons fairly well. I can get somewhere on the green and make a good up-and-down. That's about how I've been the last few days, and you just can't -- that hole is pretty difficult if you're not in the fairway. It's kind of a difficult lay-up and it's a hard yardage, and the green is elevated. Hopefully tomorrow I can find a way to get it in the fairway and birdie that hole.

Q. You said you'll work on it or figure it out. Do you know what to work on?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it's not real technical, it's just my club just -- I try and get it more in front of me and I overdo it and pull it left because the club is too far in front of me. And then I try and get it a little more in sync and push it because it's behind me. Maybe get my tempo a little bit better. But I think the swing is there. It's just one of those days where I was hitting it sideways and the time is just off a little bit.

Q. How good is a 62 on a day like this?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it's out there. He's a great ball striker and a great putter. It doesn't surprise me at all on this course. It's kind of like it was yesterday. It's right out there, and if you're hitting the ball well and putting the ball where it's supposed to be on the green, he's a great putter and the greens are great. I wasn't surprised that he shot that score.

Q. A lot of the conditions are supposed to be pretty much the same tomorrow with a real good chance of rain on Sunday. Going into Saturday, do you have something in mind as far as the number?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I try and stay away from that. I kind of get in trouble when I force stuff, if I try and start shooting a score. Obviously I'm just going to try and pick my targets like I have been the last couple days and hopefully just execute a little bit better tomorrow. I did a good job yesterday and was a little bit off today, and then hopefully we're right there again at the end of tomorrow.

Q. But you think somebody is going to have to go pretty low to win this thing?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I don't think you have to go real low as long as you hang in with the leaders. Tomorrow I'm not going to watch the leaderboard too much, but obviously at the end of the day you kind of want to be somewhere around the leaders. So if you shoot a good round Sunday, you know, you have a good chance of winning. The tough thing is these guys are so good and the field is so good and the course is in such great condition, you're not going to see the scores skyrocket. If you have a bad score out there, you've just got to keep pace with the leaders.

Q. I guess a lot of us are surprised to see it 12-under. We thought it might be playing a little tougher.

SEAN O'HAIR: It's not that it's playing easy, I just think guys are just playing well. Like I said, it's not like -- if you're hitting the fairways it's not like the ball is running into the rough. If you're hitting the fairways, you're staying in the fairway. If you're hitting it sideways, it's a struggle. You're going to shoot over par on this golf course. The greens are receptive, and some shots are a little bit firmer and obviously out of the rough you're not going to hold the greens. But if you can just hit good golf shots, then it's a very scorable golf course.

Q. What did you do on 15, the par 5?

SEAN O'HAIR: I hit it way left, and I had just a chip-out or I could hook it trying to get down there. I thought, just play smart and the ball came out of the rough a lot easier than I thought it would. I kind of gave it a little too much effort and it ran through the fairway. I actually had a decent lie, but it's just thick stuff and you don't want to be hitting a 6-iron into that green out of the rough. You know, I hit a good shot, it just kind of squirted a little bit on me and I short-sided myself and that's dead over there. It just was a difficult hole if you're not hitting the fairway.

Q. How long was your birdie putt on 18 there?

SEAN O'HAIR: It was a bit difficult. I think that over the years the pins seem to be in the same locations. You get to know that putt. I had that putt last year and I missed it low. I played it a little more in, and I missed it low again. Underneath the hole, it looks like it's going to go right, but it's like, play it just outside left lip, and that's what I did. You've got to hit it so soft down that hill because it's so fast, it's almost like you can never get the ball straight on the right line. It's almost like you always start it right because you've got to hit it so soft.

Q. What did you have, four feet coming back?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it wasn't the kind of putt I wanted coming back.

Q. Where were you aiming on that? Were you aiming where you hit it?

SEAN O'HAIR: On what, the iron shot?

Q. Yeah.

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I was just right of the pin and tried to aim and hit a great shot. I hit a terrible drive. I don't know if you guys saw that, but I was fortunate. I was just glad to make par.

Q. TPC Deere Run, you played well, and you played well a couple weeks ago, and now you're playing well this week. It seems like it's been longer than you like when you can put two good tournaments back-to-back. Are you starting to get back to where you think you ought to be?


Q. Was there any kind of turning point for you along the way?

SEAN O'HAIR: I changed back to my old coach, and that was a big thing for me.

Q. Who was that?

SEAN O'HAIR: That was -- I used him for the first time in Houston, Steve Dahlby. We started working together, and it kind of was like -- it wasn't that I was working with the wrong people before, just I didn't quite feel comfortable, and I just felt like it was better for me to go back to Steve, and it's worked out well for me.

Q. Who were you working with before that?

SEAN O'HAIR: Gary Gilchrist.

Q. How long were you with Gary?

SEAN O'HAIR: Steve is my original. I was with Gary for a couple years.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

U.S. Open qualifiers

When it comes to the U.S. Open, most people think all the big names get a slide into the field. Far from it.

Take a look at this list of potential "storylines" at Sectional qualifiers that went out today from the U.S. Golf Association. You'll be surprised by the number of well-known players who are not exempt:

U.S. Open sectional qualifying is scheduled at 13 sites on Monday, June 4. Here is the breakdown of places awarded and the top storylines from each venue. The results will by posted online by the USGA as soon as possible. There are a total of 83 spots being awarded. Seventy-two golfers are already fully exempt. One place is being held open pending the result of this week's Tour event.

Storylines for the 2007 U.S. Open From Sectional Qualifying

Bear Creek Country Club (Murrieta, Calif.; 74 players for 4 spots)

Danny Lee, a 16-year-old amateur from New Zealand, was a semifinalist at the 2006 U.S. Junior.

Eric Meeks of Las Vegas, Nev., captured the 1988 U.S. Amateur.

PGA Tour player Kevin Sutherland of Sacramento, Calif., won the 2002 World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Henry Liaw of Rowland Heights, Calif., captured the 2001 U.S. Junior.

Canadian-born Richard Lee, 16, of Chandler, Ariz., was the runner-up at the 2006 U.S. Junior and qualified for the 2005 U.S. Amateur at 14.

Casey Watabu of Kapa’a, Hawaii, won the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links, defeating current PGA Tour rookie Anthony Kim in the final.

Korean-born Sihwan Kim of Buena Park, Calif., won the 2004 U.S. Junior and was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 APL. He will attend Stanford in the fall.

Arvo Voip of San Jose, Calif., was the last player to file an entry into the 2007 U.S. Open. His online entry was processed with 15 seconds to spare on April 30, the last day the USGA accepted entries. He was the medalist at his Modesto, Calif., local qualifying site.

Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., was the 2006 California State High School champion and a quarterfinalist at the 2006 U.S. Amateur.

Mike Sica of La Quinta, Calif., managed to shoot a 3-under-par 69 at his local qualifier at Bermuda Dunes (Calif.) C.C. with borrowed clubs because his did not arrive at the airport following a Canadian Tour event. He played with an old set of clubs, his father’s driver and a putter he never had used.

Columbine Country Club (Littleton, Colo.; 20 players for 1 spot)

Bill Loeffler of Castle Rock, Colo., was the 1986 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.

Dustin White of Pueblo, Colo., made it through both stages of U.S. Open qualifying in 2006 to qualify for the field at Winged Foot. He missed the cut.

Michael Zaremba, 53, of Pueblo West, Colo., is the director of golf at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo, which was the host site for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. He also qualified for the 2006 U.S. Senior Open.

Walton Heath Golf Club (Surrey, England; 72 players for 9 spots)

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland has represented Europe on five Ryder Cup teams and defeated Tiger Woods in the final of the 2000 World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain has also competed in seven U.S. Opens and shared runner-up honors in 2000 at Pebble Beach.

Oliver Wilson represented Great Britain and Ireland at the 2003 Walker Cup Match.

Francesco Molinari of Italy is the brother of 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari.

Graeme Storm of England is a former British Amateur champion (1999) who represented Great Britain & Ireland at the 1999 Walker Cup Match.

Mikko Ilonen of Finland won the 2000 British Amateur, becoming the first player from his country to achieve the feat.

Paul Lawrie of Scotland came from 10 strokes back in the final round to win the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie in a playoff over Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde.

Jean Van de Velde of France is known for his 72nd-hole collapse at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie when he made a triple-bogey 7. He lost in the subsequent playoff to Paul Lawrie.

Nick Dougherty of England played on the 2001 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that was just the second to ever win on U.S. soil.

Graeme McDowell of Ireland represented Great Britain & Ireland at the 2001 Walker Cup and was an All-American performer at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Paul McGinley of Ireland holed the Ryder Cup-clinching putt for Europe at the 2002 Matches at The Belfry.

Jupiter Hills Club (Tequesta, Fla.; 47 players for 2 spots)

Thai-born Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., was a semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Junior.

William “Bud” Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 U.S. Junior.

Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden is a PGA Tour regular who tied for fifth at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club (Ball Ground, Ga.; 36 golfers for 3 spots)

Lee Williams of Alexander City, Ala., is a two-time USA Walker Cupper who also helped his USA squad capture the 2004 World Amateur Team Championship title in Puerto Rico.

Billy Andrade of Bristol, R.I., who now resides in Atlanta, owns four PGA Tour victories and is looking to play in his ninth U.S. Open. He was a member of the 1987 USA Walker Cup team.

Peter Marshall, 15, of Lake Forest, Ill., is the youngest player to advance to sectional qualifying. He turned 15 on Jan. 10. He is one of two 15-year-olds to make it to the sectional qualifying portion of the championship.

Dave Womack of McDonough, Ga., won the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur title.

PGA Tour player Jason Dufner of Auburn, Ala., made the cut at the 2006 U.S. Open and was the runner-up to Trevor Immelman at the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Hank Kim of Jonesboro, Ga., was the stroke-play medalist at the 1994 U.S. Amateur, which was won by then-18-year-old Tiger Woods.

Hall of Famer Larry Nelson, 59, of Marietta, Ga., won the U.S. Open in 1983 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. Nelson held off defending champion Tom Watson by a stroke. He holed a 62’ birdie putt at the 70th hole.

Ryan Hybl of Winterville, Ga., was the runner-up to Dave Womack at the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur and currently serves as an assistant men’s golf coach at his alma mater, the University of Georgia.

PGA Tour player Heath Slocum owns two tour victories, the last coming at the 2005 Southern Farm Bureau Classic. He has only played in one previous U.S. Open, missing the cut in 2002 at Bethpage State Park.

Matt Kuchar of Atlanta, Ga., was the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion and represented the USA at the 1999 Walker Cup Match. In 1998, he made the 36-hole cut at both the Masters and U.S. Open.

Riverside Golf Club (North Riverside, Ill.; 45 players for 5 spots)

Len Mattiace of Jacksonville, Fla., was the runner-up to Mike Weir at the 2003 Masters.

Nationwide Tour player James Driscoll of Brookline, Mass., was the runner-up to Jeff Quinney at the 2000 U.S. Amateur and was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup team. Driscoll also was the runner-up at the 1995 U.S. Junior.

Mike Small of Champaign, Ill., is the head men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois who has also qualified for several PGA Championships.

Sal Spallone of Vero Beach, Fla., survived both stages of qualifying to play in the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

Mario Tiziani of Shorewood, Minn., is the brother-in-law of PGA Tour player Steve Stricker.

Jeff Overton of Evansville, Ind., was a 2005 USA Walker Cupper who advanced to the semifinals of the 2004 U.S. Amateur.

Former PGA Tour player Chip Beck, 50, of Lake Forest, Ill. Beck shared second place at the 1986 and ’89 U.S. Opens.

Matt Weibring of Plano, Texas, is the son of Champions Tour player D.A. Weibring, who was the runner-up at the 2005 U.S. Senior Open.

Indian Hills Country Club (Mission Hills, Kan.; 22 players for 1 spot)

Matt Gogel of Mission Hills, Kan., is a former PGA Tour winner (AT&T National Pro-Am)

J.C. Anderson of Quincy, Ill., last qualified for a U.S. Open 19 years ago. The 45-year-old Quincy C.C. professional played at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where he missed the cut.

Woodmont Country Club (Rockville, Md.; 65 players for 5 spots)

Jonathan Moore of Vancouver, Wash., won the 2006 NCAA Division I title for Oklahoma State and was a member of the 2006 USA World Amateur Team. He also qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open.

Brad Faxon of Barrington, R.I., will be looking to play in his 21 st U.S. Open. The 1983 USA Walker Cupper owns eight PGA Tour wins, the last coming at the 2005 Buick Championship. He has played in 19 U.S. Opens.

Brian Harman of Savannah, Ga., captured the 2003 U.S. Junior and was the youngest member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup team.

Martin Ureta of Chile and the University of North Carolina was the runner-up to Clay Ogden at the 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

PGA Tour winner Joey Sindelar of Horseheads, N.Y., will be looking to play in his 18th U.S. Open.

David Chung, 17, of Fayetteville, N.C., was the runner-up at the 2004 U.S. Junior and semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Junior.

Luke List of Ringgold, Ga., was the runner-up to Ryan Moore at the 2004 U.S. Amateur and semifinalist at the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He also made the cut at the 2005 Masters.

Jordan Byrd of Clemson, S.C., is the brother of PGA Tour player and former USA Walker Cupper Jonathan Byrd.

Peter Uihlein, 17, of Bradenton, Fla., is one of the top junior golfers in the country and the son of Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein.

Conrad Ray of Austin, Minn., is the head men’s golf coach at Stanford University and a former Stanford teammate of Tiger Woods. He got into the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst as an alternate.

Rhys Davies of Wales was an All-American performer at East Tennessee State, where he just recently finished his senior season. Davies was a member of the 2005 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.

Ron Philo Jr. won the 2006 PGA Club Professional Championship and is the brother of LPGA Tour player Laura Diaz.

Fred Funk, 51, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., has won titles on both the PGA and Champions tours this year. He captured the 2005 Players Championship at the age of 48.

Chris Kirk of Woodstock, Ga., recently was named the Ben Hogan Award winner for being the top collegiate/amateur golfer in the country. He was a last-minute replacement for the injured Webb Simpson on the 2006 USA World Amateur Team.

Shigeki Maruyama of Japan is returning to the site where he once shot a 58 in U.S. Open sectional qualifying. He tied for fourth at the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Timothy Straub of Huntersville, N.C., is the head men’s golf coach at Davidson University and the 1983 winner of the U.S. Junior. Straub was the U.S. Junior runner-up in 1982.

Old Oaks C.C./Century C.C. (Purchase, N.Y.; 58 golfers for 3 spots)

Justin Regier of East Amherst, N.Y., is the son of Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier.

Nationwide Tour player Ricky Barnes of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 2002 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills. He has qualified for three U.S. Opens, but none since he turned professional.

Jon McLean of Weston, Fla., is the son of noted PGA teaching professional Jim McLean. McLean lost to eventual runner-up John Kelly in the third round of the 2006 U.S. Amateur.

George Zahringer, 54, of New York, N.Y., won the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stanwich Club and was a member of the 2003 USA Walker Cup team after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2003 U.S. Amateur. He also was the 2001 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up.

Duke Delcher of Bluffton, S.C., played on the victorious 1997 USA Walker Cup team.

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr., 55, of Villanova, Pa., was the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1995 U.S. Amateur and played on the 1995 and ’97 USA Walker Cup squads. He will captain the 2007 USA Walker Cup team.

Austin Eaton III of North Sutton, N.H., won the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur and advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 U.S. Amateur.

OSU Scarlet G.C./Scioto C.C. (Columbus, Ohio; 144 players for 24 spots)
(Note: This qualifier has the most big names and the most available spots because the field is laden with Tour pros from the Memorial).

Northwestern University teammates David Merkow, Kyle Moore and Chris Wilson will try to make it a Wildcat trifecta and earn a spot alongside famous NU alum golfer – former Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cupper Luke Donald (fully exempt).

Rocco Mediate of Naples, Fla., was born in Greensburg, Pa., near Oakmont. He was paired with Arnold Palmer for the first two rounds in 1994. He later withdrew due to back problems and subsequently had surgery in July of that year.

PGA Tour player John Rollins of Richmond, Va., owns two wins on tour and was No. 57 on the 2006 money list.

Tom Glissmeyer of Colorado Springs, Colo., qualified for the 2003 U.S. Open as a 16 year old. He now attends the University of Southern California.

Tim Herron of Wayzata, Minn., is one of three players to defeat Tiger Woods in match play at a USGA amateur championship, eliminating him in the second round of the 1992 U.S. Amateur. He was a member of the 1993 USA Walker Cup team and he owns four PGA Tour victories.

Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., is the only player to win the U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Amateur in the same year (2004). He also won the 2002 APL and was the 2000 U.S. Junior runner-up. He earned low-amateur honors at the 2005 Masters.

Jonathan Byrd of Sea Island, Ga., is a former USA Walker Cupper (1999) who now plays on the PGA Tour (two wins). His brother Jordan also is hoping to qualify for the 2007 U.S. Open.

Edward Loar of Dallas, Texas, was a member of the 1999 USA Walker Cup team.

Mark O’Meara of Windermere, Fla., won the 1998 Masters and British Open titles. He also captured the 1979 U.S. Amateur.

Michael Putnam of Tacoma, Wash., was a member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup team and a 2005 U.S. Open qualifier.

D.J. Trahan of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., won the 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links title and was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup team.

J.B. Holmes of Orlando, Fla., was a member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup team and stroke-play medalist at the 2004 U.S. Amateur held at Oakmont Country Club.

Mike Van Sickle of Wexford, Pa., is the son of Sports Illustrated senior golf writer Gary Van Sickle. He survived a playoff at his local qualifier in Mequon, Wis., to get the last available spot.

Mark Wilson of Chicago, Ill., was the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1992 U.S. Junior. Wilson earned his first PGA Tour win earlier this year at the Honda Classic.

Hunter Haas of Dallas, Texas, won the 1999 U.S. Amateur Public Links title and was a member of the ’99 USA Walker Cup team.

Camilo Villegas of Colombia was the runner-up at the 1999 U.S. Junior and competed in the World Amateur Team Championship for his native country. His younger brother, Manuel, has also advanced to sectional qualifying at the Columbus #2 site.

Billy Mayfair of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 1985 U.S. Amateur Public Links and ’86 U.S. Amateur, becoming the first player to win both titles. The PGA Tour winner also played on the 1987 USA Walker Cup team.

Tim Mickelson of San Diego, Calif., is the brother of three-time major champion Phil Mickelson and the head men’s golf coach at the University of San Diego.

Mark Calcavecchia of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., won the 1989 British Open in a playoff at Royal Troon and owns 13 overall PGA Tour wins.

Jordan Cox of Redwood City, Calif., was the runner-up to Brian Harman at the 2003 U.S. Junior.

Tom Lehman of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 1996 British Open and posted four consecutive top-five U.S. Open finishes from 1995, including a tie for second with Davis Love III in 1996 at Oakland Hills.

Trip Kuehne of Dallas, Texas, was the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1994 U.S. Amateur and is a two-time USA Walker Cupper. He also was named to the 2006 USA World Amateur Team after reaching the quarterfinals of the ’06 U.S. Amateur. His brother, Hank, won the 1998 U.S. Amateur and his sister, Kelli, is a three-time USGA champion.

Anthony Kim of Dallas, Texas, was the runner-up at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links and member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup team. The former University of Oklahoma All-American also reached the semifinals of the 2005 APL and was a quarterfinalist at the ’05 U.S. Amateur.

Boo Weekley of Milton, Fla., won his first PGA Tour event at the Verizon Heritage in April.

Robert Gamez is a former USA Walker Cupper (1989) and a three-time PGA Tour winner.

Bart Bryant of Windermere, Fla., won the 2005 Memorial to get an exemption into the ’05 U.S. Open as a multiple PGA Tour winner. His older brother, Brad, competes on the Champions Tour.

Kyle Reifers of Dublin, Ohio, will be competing in his backyard for sectional qualifying. He was a member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup team. His father, Randy, was the low amateur at the 2006 U.S. Senior Open.

Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., and his PGA Tour-playing father, Bob Tway, both will try to advance to the U.S. Open. Kevin won the 2005 U.S. Junior and was a semifinalist in 2006, while Bob won the 1986 PGA Championship and has played in 18 U.S. Opens (third in 1998).

Jeff Quinney of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 2000 U.S. Amateur and competed on the 2000 USA World Amateur Team and 2001 USA Walker Cup squad. He is a PGA Tour rookie in 2007.

Kevin Marsh of Las Vegas, Nev., won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur and also served as the interim head coach for the NCAA Division I champion Pepperdine men’s golf team in 1997 when Coach John Geiberger contracted chicken pox. Marsh is a Pepperdine graduate.

Bill Haas of Greenville, S.C., is the son of PGA Tour/Champions Tour player Jay Haas. He was a member of the 2003 USA Walker Cup team after advancing to the semifinals of the ’02 U.S. Amateur.

John Cook of Windermere, Fla., won the 1978 U.S. Amateur and helped the USA win the 1978 Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championship. He has played in 23 U.S. Opens, dating back to 1977.

Kevin Stadler of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of 1973 U.S. Amateur winner Craig Stadler.

Bob Ford, 53, of Oakmont, Pa., is the head professional at Oakmont C.C., the site of the 2007 U.S. Open. Ford made the cut at the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Steve Jones of Tempe, Ariz., is the 1996 U.S. Open champion. His 10-year exemption for being champion ended last year.

Paul Azinger of Bradenton, Fla., is the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup captain and winner of the 1993 PGA Championship in a playoff over Greg Norman.

Pablo Martin of Spain became the first amateur to win a European Tour event when he captured the 2007 Estoril Open de Portugal. The Oklahoma State All-American is hoping to make the U.S. Open his professional debut.

Jason Gore of Valencia, Calif., was the darling of the 2005 U.S. Open when he earned a spot alongside Retief Goosen in the final pairing on Sunday, only to shoot an 84. Gore was also a member of the 1997 USA Walker Cup team.

Clay Ogden of West Point, Utah, gained national fame in 2005 when he beat Michelle Wie in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He eventually won the title over Martin Ureta.

Ryan Armour of Silver Lake, Ohio, nearly denied Tiger Woods a third consecutive U.S. Junior title in 1993. Woods won the final two holes of the 18-hole match at Waverly C.C. in Portland, Ore., to force extra holes, where he took the title at the 19th hole.

Colonial Country Club (Memphis, Tenn.; 117 players for 15 spots)

Brothers Tyler and Trent Leon of Dallas, Texas, are hoping to advance to their first U.S. Open. Their sister, Taylor, played in the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open and was a member of the ’06 USA Curtis Cup team.

Chris Riley of Las Vegas, Nev., was the runner-up at the 1994 U.S. Amateur Public Links and was a member of the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Stephen Leaney of Australia was the runner-up to Jim Furyk at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.

John Daly of Memphis, Tenn., won the 1991 PGA Championship as the ninth alternate and then added a second major title with the 1995 British Open.

David Gossett of Austin, Texas, won the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach and then made the 36-hole cut at both the 2000 Masters and U.S. Open before winning the 2001 PGA Tour John Deere Classic.

Bubba Dickerson of Fernandina Beach, Fla., won the 2001 U.S. Amateur and was the runner-up to D.J. Trahan at the 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Dickerson turned pro after the 2002 Masters, thus giving up his U.S. Open exemption. He has yet to qualify for a U.S. Open.

Olin Browne of Tequesta, Fla., shot a 59 in U.S. Open qualifying two years ago in Rockville, Md., to get into the field at Pinehurst.

Larry Mize of Columbus, Ga., won the 1987 Masters with a miraculous chip-in birdie at the second playoff hole to beat Greg Norman.

Danny Green of Jackson, Tenn., won the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was the runner-up at the 1989 U.S. Amateur and 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links, making him the only player in history to reach the final match of all three of those USGA events. He also was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup team.

Nicholas Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., was a member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup team and is currently No. 2 on the 2007 Nationwide Tour money list.

Warren Schutte of South Africa won the 1992 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Mark Brooks of Fort Worth, Texas, won the 1996 PGA Championship in a playoff and lost an 18-hole playoff to Retief Goosen at the 2001 U.S. Open.

Jeff Maggert of The Woodlands, Texas, owns three top-five finishes in 15 U.S. Open appearances, including a pair of thirds (2002 and ’04).

Bob May of Las Vegas, Nev., was the runner-up to Tiger Woods in a memorable playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship. He was a member of the 1991 USA Walker Cup team.

Steve Elkington of Australia won the 1995 PGA Championship in a playoff over Colin Montgomerie.

Hank Kuehne of McKinney, Texas won the 1998 U.S. Amateur. He is the younger brother of 1994 U.S. Amateur runner-up Trip Kuehne and three-time USGA champion Kelli Kuehne.

Philip Francis, 17, of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 2006 U.S. Junior, a year after being a quarterfinalist in the same event. He is headed to UCLA in the fall.

Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., is a two-time winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur and two-time USA Walker Cupper.

Bryce Molder of Conway, Ark., was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup team and he helped the 2000 USA World Amateur Team win the Eisenhower Trophy in Germany.

Brandt Snedeker of Nashville, Tenn., won the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links title.

Northwood Club (Dallas, Texas; 30 players for 3 spots)

Justin Leonard of Dallas, Texas, won the 1992 U.S. Amateur and was a member of the 1992 USA World Amateur Team and ’93 Walker Cup squad. He later won the 1997 British Open and was the runner-up at the 1999 British Open and ’04 PGA Championship. He is looking to play in his 12th U.S. Open.

Cory Whitsett, 15, of Houston, Texas, is the second-youngest player to advance to sectional qualifying. The left-hander qualified for match play at the 2006 U.S. Junior, where he made a hole-in-one in stroke-play qualifying.

Corey Pavin of Oxnard, Calif., is the 1995 U.S. Open champion and a member of the 1981 USA Walker Cup team. He’s played on three U.S. Ryder Cup and two U.S. President’s Cup squads. Pavin owns 15 PGA Tour victories.

Mitch Cohlmia of Tulsa, Okla., shared medalist honors at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Tommy Armour III of Dallas, Texas, is the grandson of 1927 U.S. Open champion Tommy Armour. Armour won that title at Oakmont in a playoff over Harry “Lighthorse” Cooper.

PGA Tour player Hunter Mahan of Plano, Texas, won the 1999 U.S. Junior title and was the runner-up to Ricky Barnes at the 2002 U.S. Amateur. He also played for the victorious USA team at the 2002 World Amateur Team Championship.

Club pro Stuart Deane of Arlington, Texas, won the made-for-television Trump Million Dollar Invitational in 2006, which came a month after he made his first-ever PGA Tour start at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the age of 34.

Olympic Course at Gold Mountain G.C. (Bremerton, Wash.; 20 players for 1 spot)

Alexander Prugh of Spokane, Wash., was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 U.S. Amateur and his father qualified for the 2006 U.S. Senior Open.

Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash., is a former major-league pitcher with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds who has previously qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Double Eagle Club (Columbus, Ohio #2; 70 players for 4 spots)

Jeff Curl of Jupiter, Fla., is the son of former PGA Tour player Rod Curl.

Adam Rubinson of Fort Worth, Texas, competed on the 2003 USA Walker Cup team.

Manuel Villegas of Colombia is the younger brother of PGA Tour player Camilo Villegas (1999 U.S. Junior runner-up). He plays for the University of Florida golf team.

Nationwide Tour player Chris Nallen of Tucson, Ariz., was a member of the 2003 USA Walker Cup team and a semifinalist at the 2004 U.S. Amateur.

O'Hair shares lead at Memorial

In his first action since The Players Championship, Sean O'Hair shot 65 for a three-way share of the lead at the Memorial Tournament.

Here's his post-round press conference:

PGA Tour: We'd like to welcome Sean O'Hair to the interview room at the Memorial Tournament. You had a great opening round today, 65, eight birdies out there, one bogey. If you could talk a little bit about your round.

SEAN O'HAIR: I started hitting the ball well from the beginning of the day and just -- I think I birdied -- my first birdie was 3 today, and just right after that I really started hitting some nice quality golf shots. Hit a nice shot on 4, had a nice opportunity there, and then hit a great 5-wood into 5, two-putted for birdie there, and made kind of a little snake on 6 and then from there on I just kind of fed off the other guys. I think everybody else was playing pretty good in the group. So it was just kind of a nice day where no one was really struggling, and I just felt like I hit most of the -- I was picking good targets and I was hitting the shots the way I wanted to, most of them. I struggled on 15, I hit a bad tee ball. On 17, I hit a bad tee ball. But other than that, I hit the ball fairly well today.

PGA Tour: Questions?

Q. How much fun is a round like this when you're playing well and birdies just happen? Can you describe that feeling, how easy it is?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, it's not like today, I was trying to go out and shoot 7-under par. You know, I'm just picking out my targets and trying to hit the golf shot. It's kind of the same thing at TPC, whether it's at the pin or 10 feet right of the pin or 20 feet right of the pin, you know, I'm picking out good targets and I'm hitting it there. Just got to be patient, and it was nice that the putts were falling for me today.

Q. You know you kind of laughed at the assertion that some people thought 17, two weeks ago, might leave a bad taste or a hangover in your mouth, given the way that played out. Was that such a crazy assertion for some people to have?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I mean, I think people --

Q. Might be a setback for you?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I think people just look at the results on 17, they don't sit there and say, he hit the shot he wanted to hit. I stood up on that tee, and I was going right for the pin, and I hit it right over the pin and I felt like I hit the shot the way I wanted to, and I was shocked that it went in the water. So it would have been different if I'm sitting there going for the middle of the green and I shove it way right and knock it in the water and choke, but I didn't. I hit the shot the way I wanted to hit it. The tournament didn't end out the way I wanted it, but it was a great experience, and I felt like, hey, I can hit the shots when I need to. I think that says a lot, especially on that stage, such a big tournament, and playing against the second-best player in the world. Whenever you -- when it's right there, you're hitting the shots that you need to, so --

Q. Was it too much club or did the wind lay down?

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I think maybe it was -- maybe I should have gone a little more left with maybe a wedge trying to feed on the hill there, right over the bunker. But that experience is my second at THE PLAYERS. I like the course and look forward to the future in that tournament. They expect the 17th to be a negative. I played pretty solid for 70 holes, and that has no effect. When people ask me about it, it's two weeks ago. I'm playing today, I'm playing in the Memorial this week. So I'm going to try and win the Memorial. I had a great day today, and I'm going to try and have a good day tomorrow and take it shot by shot, day by day.

Q. Do you think more and more of the players of your generation are taking that attitude about the plusses and minuses of golf? It seems as though they said, okay, well, I made a bad play; that's okay, I'll make a good play.

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I don't know what generation hasn't done that. You look at Nicklaus, I mean, Nicklaus never let a shot bother him. Whether he hit a bad shot or a good shot, he went and hit the next one --

Q. But Jack was the best player of his time. I'm looking at a broader spectrum of players that are playing that way.

SEAN O'HAIR: No, I think any guy who's good on TOUR does that. I think anybody does it. I don't think it's any different. You know, I've worked hard -- I don't think it's a natural -- I don't know if I understand your question, but I don't think it's that type of attitude that's natural for a young player. I think you're maybe seeing more younger players take that approach. I guess that's your question?

Q. Yeah, it seems like they don't let the things bother them that might have bothered --

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I mean, like I said, I think any good player in the past has done that. I've never seen a good player or a major winner that's won on a consistent basis let shots or let tournaments or let bad holes bother them because I just -- I think that's such a big deal in the game. You know, it's such a mental, mental game. You've got to be in the present and into the shot that you're hitting.

Q. When did you reach that level?

SEAN O'HAIR: Well, I mean, I'm not there. I don't know if I'm there yet. I still have a lot of work to do mentally and physically, but you know, I'm getting better at it. But like I said, I don't think I'm there yet.

Q. With the course being dry, there seems to be a lot of good scores today, and I'm wondering if the humidity is slowing things up out there or what?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I think it's softer than probably they want to play it. But like today, the sun is not quite out; it's kind of hiding behind the clouds. If the sun pops out and starts baking the course out a little bit, tomorrow I think will be a lot tougher. I don't think they're expecting rain. I'm not 100 percent sure. But if the course gets firmer, this is a pretty good test of golf.

Q. Is this a course that almost the first time you stepped on it, you found comfortable? You seem to have always played well here.

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, I like courses like this, Medinah, places like that, old-school, northeast-type. This is kind of my type golf. I love this stuff. This is what I play on when I'm home, like Aronomink, Merion, Pine Valley. This is what it's all about.

Q. Have you talked about 17 yet?

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, you're late. Sorry (laughter). What's your question on 17?

Q. I just want to know what you did on it today, not two weeks ago.

SEAN O'HAIR: That was a trick question there.

Q. You should have gone to college (laughter).

SEAN O'HAIR: That's a good one. You know, I hit a bad tee ball. 15, I hit kind of the same tee shot with my driver. I felt like I kind of -- a little bit sweaty palms. It's kind of muggy out there, and I felt like I got a little handsy on 15. Same thing on 17, hit it in the bunker. I was thinking about hitting 8-iron out of there, but the lip on that bunker is pretty nasty. I was trying to get a lob wedge out but try and get it down there to have a nice pitch up there for par. I was trying to get it up over the lip and I kind of got the club stuck and flared it out right, and it was lucky that it wasn't in the water or in the woods there. But I made a great bogey. I was just trying to get in the bunker and make an up-and-down and I made a nice putt. That was the only really mental error I think I had today.

Q. Was that the only bogey in the entire group?

SEAN O'HAIR: That was the only bogey in the entire group today. Yeah, I've never heard of anything like that. I apologized to those guys for making that bogey (laughter) because that would have been pretty cool, no bogeys in the group. I've never heard of that before in my life.

Q. I was just wondering, have you ever been able to put on weight? It seems like you look about the same now as you did in the pictures I've seen of you --

SEAN O'HAIR: I've put some weight on. When I came out I was 152 and I'm probably just under 170 right now. I've been doing a lot of protein shakes and steroids (laughter) and -- just joking.

Q. I just wondered, did you hear about Mickelson's injury while you were on the course or after --

SEAN O'HAIR: No, I did not.

Q. You don't even know about it yet?

SEAN O'HAIR: No, he withdrew? I didn't know that.

Q. He hurt his wrist.

SEAN O'HAIR: That's a shame, because I really -- I've got a whole new respect for him because he -- obviously he was focused on him and he had a tournament to win. But he said some pretty kind words about me and about my game afterwards when he really didn't have to. You know, that was nice of him, and you know --

Q. He said them to you or to the press in general?

SEAN O'HAIR: I mean, you know, his caddie, Bones, has always been nice to me, and Phil -- we had talked briefly in the locker room this week just for like five minutes, and he had some nice things to say, and I think he's a gentleman.

Q. What did he say if you don't mind sharing it?

SEAN O'HAIR: No. We had a nice conversation.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Marc Schogol, R.I.P.

The Inquirer lost one of the good guys yesterday, longtime reporter and editor Marc Schogol. He will be missed.

Marc, 58, who succumbed after long battle with leukemia, was like the ultimate utility ballplayer. He could do anything and do it well -- edit, write, report -- plus he was just such a decent person.

Although I seriously doubt there was any job in the newsroom he didn't do at one time or another, Marc was probably best known among his colleagues for his ability, under the most suffocating deadline pressure, to write the big story, to pull together a million details from a thosuand sources for a gripping Page 1 read that all made sense.
Over the years, whenever some giant news story broke in Philadelphia and 75 reporters were dispatched to the scene to vacuum up details and interviews, it was usually Marc, back in the office, who culled it all, digested it and laid it out for everyone to read. He was cool and clutch when it counted. It is a very special talent.

I always felt I owed Marc a debt of gratitude. When The Inquirer hired me in 1982 to cover the Big 5, I had never even been a sportswriter. I quickly found myself out of my element and in over my head. I was miserable, asking myself why I ever left a comfortable job in another state to jump into a snake pit.

At the time, Marc was an assistant sports editor. He was a few years older and he had been at the Inquirer for several years already. When I was lost, drowning in self-doubt, Marc was the one guy who would pull me aside and reassure me that I had the ability and the determination and that eventually, if I stayed calm, everything would be all right. That attitude, of course, is what made him so capable under deadline pressure.

I remember the day 25 years ago I heard he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Like everybody who knew him, my reaction was how terribly unfair. Today, I can only think how lucky we all were to have Marc around as long as we did.