SAN DIEGO – There will be no U.S. Open this year for Sean O'Hair.
O'Hair withdrew from the Open early yesterday afternoon, citing a painful chest bruise he sustained in an early-morning, one-car accident near home last Thursday.
"It happened no more than a 9-iron shot from my house," said O'Hair, 25, who lives in West Chester.
O'Hair was driving his Mustang. He said he was pulling out of his housing development about 7 a.m., headed to to the gym to work out. The roads were slick from overnight rains. As he was shifting from first to second gear, going about 30 m.p.h., he lost control of the car and skidded head-on into a utility pole. An air bag deployed.
"It happened so fast," said O'Hair. "The scary thing was how bad it could have been."
O'Hair walked back to his house, assured his wife, Jackie, he was OK, called the police, and then went to the hospital to get checked out.
Hoping he would be fine by today's start of the Open, O'Hair flew to San Diego on Friday to attend a function for one of his sponsors, TaylorMade.
He took the weekend off from golf, but when he tried to hit balls Monday and Tuesday, he experienced some pain. Yesterday morning he consulted his trainer here at Torrey Pines and later tried to hit balls. The pain was enough to cause him to withdraw.
"I was struggling to swing the club with any force," he said. "The doctor said it was just going to take time to heal."
"After the Open, I was going to take the next couple of weeks off anyway."
Still, O'Hair was frustrated at having to pull out. O'Hair finished tied for 26th in 2006 at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot; last year he missed the cut at Oakmont.
"I haven't been playing well lately, but I've been close," he said. "I've been looking forward to this tournament."