Monday, March 30
The Math Didn’t Work Out for Sean O’Hair
Sean O’Hair couldn’t hold off Tiger Woods. (Steve Newton/Flickr)
YOU WOULD THINK a five-shot lead is a comfortable margin heading into a final round. It wasn’t for Sean O’Hair, whose closest pursuer and playing partner during Sunday’s final trip around Bay Hill was the most feared competitor in golf, Tiger Woods.
While I thought O’Hair had a chance if he could hold himself together, some predicted the outcome. For example, I found an email on Monday morning from a loyal reader that was sent at 10 a.m. on Sunday (before the leaders teed off).
“Just for the record,” he wrote, “I think Tiger will win today even though he's starting with a five-stroke deficit.”
There is a kind of Tiger math that Sean O’Hair and a long list of other players can’t seem to overcome. Tiger wins about 30 percent of the events he plays, roughly one in three. This was the third tournament of his comeback. Do the math.
And this was Bay Hill, Arnie’s tournament, where Tiger has now won six times, including the last two years with rip-your-heart-out putts on the final green. As strange as it may sound, perhaps Sean O’Hair didn’t have much of a chance.
Sure, O’Hair knocked his iron shot in the water on 16, but Tiger hit some loose shots, too. Tiger is still rusty. And it shows.
It was that magical Scotty Cameron that delivered Tiger’s sixth title at Bay Hill. It’s always the putter. You can talk swing and long game all you want, but it comes down to the putter. I would not have said this two years ago, but I’m convinced that Tiger is the greatest clutch putter the game has ever seen.
If you think O’Hair didn’t give it his all, listen to his comments from the press tent. He was asked about his thoughts on Tiger, especially on the 72nd green.
“It’s not like it’s The Tiger Show and I’m just out there to watch him,” Sean said.
“And I think that’s the one thing the media thinks about the guys out here, and it’s not about that. We’re trying to win golf tournaments, and he just happens to be that good.”
That good, where even a five-shot lead isn’t enough of a cushion. The math just didn’t work out for Sean O’Hair.
Turned pro: 1999
Birthplace: Lubbock, Texas
Residence: West Chester, Pennsylvania
World ranking: 70
PGA Tour wins: 2
Major wins: 0
−The Armchair Golfer
Brought to you by The World of Golf and ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.