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O’Hair’s Long Road Back

Davidson, North Carolina | Approximately 30 miles separate the Quail Hollow Club, site of the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship, and River Run Country Club, a rolling, tree-lined layout on the edge of Lake Norman where the Web.com Tour’s Chiquita Classic was held last week. For Sean O’Hair, the distance between the two places could hardly have been greater. A little more than four years ago, O’Hair won what was then the Quail Hollow Championship, beating Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods on Sunday, a victory impressive enough that Woods sought out O’Hair when it was over to give him a handshake. Back then, O’Hair was a 26-year-old emerging star, the backstory of his father’s relentless direction framing his independent success. O’Hair would finish fifth in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2009, never foreseeing the steady erosion of confidence, technique and desire that led him to River Run, the second stop in a four-tournament series offering O’Hair the chance to play his way back to the PGA Tour. It’s tempting to say this is a career crossroads but O’Hair arrived there earlier this year in a depressing blur of hotel rooms, missed cuts and self-doubt. This is the road back.
“I got to a point where I was burned out on golf. I really didn’t care. I was playing bad and I was just over it,” O’Hair said in the quiet of the River Run locker room, a few days before he would miss the cut in the Chiquita Classic. “I was thinking about doing other stuff…. I was away from my kids. I was away from my wife. I wasn’t playing worth a darn and I wasn’t enjoying myself.


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