You could excuse Sean O'Hair for being distracted during last year's U.S. Open at Bethpage Black on Long Island. His wife, Jackie, was ready to go into labor at any minute with the couple's third child, and O'Hair was waiting for the call.
A son, Grady Quinn, at least waited until June 23, a little more than 24 hours after his dad tied for 23d at the Open. So there was no need for a high-speed dash down the New Jersey Turnpike.
Interestingly, there will be some similarity this year when O'Hair tees off at next week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. His wife is pregnant with the couple's fourth child, but at least he can compete knowing she's not close to delivering.
"We just found out about a week and a half ago," O'Hair, a resident of West Chester, said Monday at White Manor Country Club, where he appeared at an outing for Chester County Hospital. "So we're thinking late January."
O'Hair called last year's drama "an exciting distraction."
"You try and not think about it but it's impossible because it's something that's obviously more important than the tournament," he said. "I welcomed it. If it came during the tournament, I was going to withdraw and go have a baby, and that was exciting. If I was going to play in the U.S. Open, that was exciting."
O'Hair, who turns 28 next month, is winless so far this year and has just one top 10 finish, a tie for fourth at the season-opening SBS Championship, in 14 events. But counting last weekend's tie for 12th at the Memorial Tournament, he has six finishes from 12th to 22d.
O'Hair fell out of touch with the leaders in Sunday's final round, carding a 73, but he left Ohio on a positive note.
"I feel that everything is where it needs to be," he said. "I've kind of been in a putting slump for a while but last week was a great week for me putting-wise. I finished 12th, and obviously I'd like to improve on that, but I think it was a positive week, especially going into the U.S. Open."
The finish at Memorial boosted O'Hair to 47th on the FedExCup points list, got him to within $8,000 of his sixth straight $1 million season, and moved him up two spots to No. 23 in the World Golf Rankings.
Putting has been the part of O'Hair's game that has caused him the most pain. He finished 113th in putting last year and is tied for 119th in 2010. One point of emphasis this week before he leaves for California will be putting.
"I have to work on speed control on putts," he said. "I'll hit a lot of downhill putts this week. I'm also going to work on driving, really trying to groove that driver the way it needs to be. And I'll try to find the deepest rough I can around here."
O'Hair, who gave $50,000 last month to the Chester County Hospital Foundation from charitable proceeds generated by the 2009 Presidents Cup, spoke Monday to contestants at the Fore Health Invitational, a benefit for the hospital. He surprised his hosts by pledging to match and double the top bid for a round of golf with him. The winning bid was $8,500.