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?
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.