by Jeff Skinner
In was an interesting and emotional scene at the Colonial this week. There is always the history lesson on Ben Hogan that goes with this tournament. The “Pink Out” for Amy Mickelson on Saturday was a touching show of support for the most popular wife on tour. The golf was pretty interesting too. It ended with a three man playoff with Steve Stricker winning on the second playoff hole. However, there was something else going on that could have easily been overlooked. There was another solid performance by the best American player under thirty years old this week. No, it’s not Anthony Kim. Sean O’Hair finished tied for eighteenth after starting the final round tied for eighth. O’ Hair was in the mix after shooting 65 and 64 in the first two rounds. He slipped to 70 and 72 for rounds three and four that dropped him down the leader board. O’Hair is having a very productive season. After starting the year at 59th in The World Golf Rankings he has managed to move up to number twelve in the world now. He has amassed some very impressive statistics. With his win at Quail Hollow he has six top ten finishes this year and if it wasn’t for that guy named Woods sinking a birdie on the eighteenth hole, O’Hair may have won the Arnold Palmer Invitational instead of taking second to Woods. He currently sits at fourth on the FedEx Cup list, fifth on the Money List, fifth on the Presidents Cup points list and is second to Stricker in scoring average.
There are few players under thirty that can challenge O’Hair. The only two Americans that may be mentioned are Anthony Kim and Nick Watney. Kim had a great 2008 but is floundering this season. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour this year and has managed only one top ten finish. His World Ranking is holding at 15th, but he is in 56th place in FedEx Cup points. Watney is having a very good season with a win at the Buick Invitational and three top tens. Watney is in seventh place on the FedEx Cup list and 32nd in the World Golf Rankings. O’Hairs’s numbers certainly warrant the title as the Best American Under Thirty. He is the only American under thirty with three tour wins and the only international players that can say that are Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. Scott is in trouble with six missed cuts in his last seven events. Garcia has no top ten finishes this year on the PGA Tour and is struggling.
O’Hair has matured into a solid ball striker and has managed to get his putter under control. He attributes his “growing up” to his family. He currently has two children and is expecting his third. O’ Hair started his family at a young age and feels it helped him mature as a person and a golfer. O’Hair is the only golfer of the group mentioned that is married. Could that be his secret? Regardless of how he is has done it, the facts are clear: Sean O’Hair is the Best American Golfer Under Thirty and probably the Best Golfer in the World Under Thirty. O’Hair has sharpened his game and had a T10 in this year’s Masters. He is ready to win a major championship. Maybe this could be his breakthrough year.