The rift between PGA Tour rookie-of-the-year front-runner Sean O’Hair and his estranged father, Marc, appeared to grow even wider last week.
In a letter faxed to numerous media outlets July 27, Marc O’Hair criticized his son and daughter-in-law, Jackie, for unleashing a “media assault . . . that branded me forever.”
The elder O’Hair also released his son from contracts he reportedly had Sean sign before he was 18 years old. The contracts guaranteed Marc 10 percent of his son’s professional earnings for life. The lifetime contracts, Marc said, were to compensate him for an estimated $2 million he invested in Sean’s career.
“I will bail him out of another one of his problems by releasing him from liability concerning the contracts . . . he is free . . . he owes me nothing,” said Marc O’Hair, who lives in Lakeland, Fla., and hasn’t spoken to his son in 21⁄2 years.
In a story that ran in the Orlando Sentinel late last year, Marc O’Hair promised to “crucify” Sean in the media when he hit it big on the PGA Tour. Marc O’Hair said he would mail 25 copies of the contracts to major news outlets when Sean won an event.
However, no copies of the contract were sent when Sean O’Hair won the John Deere Classic July 10.
Mike Troiani, Sean O’Hair’s Philadelphia-based lawyer, said he sent an informal letter to Marc after the Sentinel story was published, warning him not to pursue the contracts.
“From a legal standpoint there’s not a lot to it,” Troiani said. “We’ve felt all along that we have a pretty good defense against any possible litigation.”
Sean O’Hair, who has moved from 1,155th in the Official World Golf Ranking at the beginning of the year to 39th, dismissed his father’s fax, telling The Golf Channel: “I’ve got nothing but great things going on and I’m just in a happy place right now. I think that’s why I’m so calm about it. To me, it’s nothing but hot air, and I ignore it.”
Sean O’Hair didn’t seemed to be bothered by it at last week’s Buick Open, where he tied for eighth – his third top 10 in his past nine events. He is No. 15 on the PGA Tour money list with $1,943,732.
In the fax, Marc O’Hair said the split with his son, which occurred about three years ago, was the result of the “stale years” caused because Sean was “stuck between adolescence and young adulthood.”
Sean O’Hair bypassed college to pursue a career in pro golf. Marc and Sean traveled the county, chasing Monday qualifiers for PGA and Nationwide Tour events with little success.
“As a rookie parent I didn’t recognize the problem, and we had a very painful split,” Marc O’Hair wrote. “It wasn’t until Sean’s marriage that I realized that he simply needed his independence from me and wanted his own space with his woman to spread his eagle wings and fly.”
Attempts to contact Marc O’Hair were unsuccessful.
Marc O’Hair ended the fax with a final dig at the media: “And in closing, I would like to tell all my dear friends in the media to kiss my (butt).”