AN INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSIONAL GOLFER SEAN O'HAIR

Sean M. O'Hair
Born: July 11, 1982 Lubbock, Texas
Home: Chadds Ford, PA

Best results in major championships

Masters Tournament  T10: 2009
U.S. Open  T12: 2010
The Open Championship  T7: 2010
PGA Championship  T12: 2006

Achievements and Awards

Four PGA TOUR wins
PGA Tour
Rookie of the Year  2005


Though born and raised in Lubbock Texas, pro golfer Sean O’Hair has lived nearly half of his life in the Delaware County area. Sean entered golf early and knew by the age of five that he wanted to devote is life to the sport. With hard work and resolve he turned pro at the age of 17 and qualified for the PGA Tour in 2005, winning Rookie of the Year honors that same year, winning his maiden PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic and finishing second at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Sean, who now lives in Chadds Ford, has been a member of Aronimink Golf Club since 2005 and is currently on the PGA Tour and hoping to qualify for the 2018 BMW Championship, which features the top 70 players in the season-long FedExCup in September.

At the age of 35, Sean has already enjoyed a long career, and is looking forward to the competitions ahead in 2018. At the time of our interview, Sean was on a break at home before heading off to Pebble Beach, the Pacific Palisades, and on to the first event of the Florida Swing in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.


DD:  Sean, since you live in the area, you must be quite familiar with the course at Aronimink, what would you say are the biggest challenges of the course?

Sean O’Hair: Aronimink is a beautiful course, and I am looking forward to playing on “home turf.” It is somewhat intimidating to play “where you live” in that many of the people you know as a husband, father and community member will be watching you with high expectations. I would say that Hole No. 8 is the toughest, and requires everything from a 5 iron to a 5 wood. It’s a long par 3 with par being a good score. Hole No. 4 is also quite difficult in that the green is fairly small for such a long drive and can be tricky to get to.


DD: The course has been refurbished and the bunkers rebuilt. Does the renovation make the course more difficult to navigate?

Sean O’Hair: I played the course this past year with many of the changes made, and for me it seemed somewhat easier. Aronimink is an “old school” course and was well received some years back by the golfers in 2010 at The National. The course could be challenging for the “everyday golfer” since the bunkers frame the fairway, but I think that with some off the trees removed, the fairways have opened up.  I haven’t played the course after the full renovations, but I suspect that it will be made tougher for the pros.

DD: Aronimink is very much a “caddie club.” Proceeds from the 2018 BMW Championship used to fund the Platt Evans Scholars Foundation for caddies at Penn State University.
What is your opinion of the need for “caddies” in the modern world of golf?


Sean O’Hair: You’re asking a guy who has had both his wife and father inlaw as caddies and does in clubs like Aronimink. Carrying clubs is only a part of what a caddie does for the golfer, in part because it benefits both parties. The golfer can learn from a caddy’s experience what he’s learned from watching and assisting other golfers who have played the course, and the caddy benefits from meeting and commiserating with people in all fields of life. The caddy learns how to communicate with others, learn the values and the quirks of various players, and earn money to support schooling or other endeavors.  Caddying provides life lessons and gets kids out of doors and help make them responsible. Sometimes I worry about the world my kids live in today where video games and text messaging replace real world communication and experiences.

DD: Speaking of your family, your wife grew up around here. Where did you meet her?

Sean O’Hair: My wife is from Aston, but I met her at a practice session at Heron Bay in 2001 and we were married in 2002. She’s close to her family, so I moved into the area. We have four children: Molly, Luke, Grady and Trevor.

DD: Golf today is year round sport. Does your travel schedule make it difficult for family life?

Sean O’Hair: The travel can be difficult, but I love golf and I’ve made it my life’s work. Any commitment can be “selfish,” but as in many fields, a golfer needs to build balance into his life. I try to juggle my priorities and stay grounded. My family is important and essential to me, and I need to be there for them.


DD:  How do you spend your down time?

Sean O’Hair: With four kids its pretty much with them and my wife. My wife and I enjoy restaurants in West Chester and the Chadds Ford area. I travel so much that staying home is a vacation for me.

DD: As you get older, what have you learned most about the game of golf?

Sean O’Hair: I have been with it so long that I feel I have learned everything in life from it. My greatest weakness is my own expectations of myself and I try to deal with that on a regular basis. I think what I’ve learned most is that to remain viable in any field a person must be able to adapt to change. The game has changed a lot since I started out. Rookies are 21 and under rather than 22 to 24 years of age. They start out of the gate quicker, and have grown up in a world of rapid changes. As I get older I have to be careful not to extend myself too far both physically and mentally. I have to use my experience over my ability to beat the ball where I want it to go. And I have to keep the motivation to win…always. When I lose the motivation, it’s time to retire!


DD: What would you do if you retired?

Sean O’Hair: I don’t think I’ll ever lose my passion for golf and I hope that I will always be able to play the game without the pressures of earning an income. Golf is expensive and stressful. Unlike most team sports where you get a contract and are paid even if you’re injured, golfers only get paid if they play…and only paid well if they win. If I retired I’d like to teach clinics or be involved in it the game in some other way. Golf is my life and it has taken me a long time to become self-aware, know who I am and what’s valuable. If you don’t learn that, you never will gain anything.