Sean O'Hair is playing in his first major championship after winning the John Deere Classic last Sunday, and the PGA Tour rookie still seems slightly overwhelmed, even if he's only six shots off the lead after shooting 70 Saturday for a 54-hole total of 210.
O'Hair didn't arrive here until early Wednesday morning because of problems getting a passport. He had only one jet-lagged practice round and shot 73 the first day, but he followed that with a 5-under 67 on Friday.
"I'm just trying to enjoy the moment," said O'Hair, 23. "I'm trying to soak up all the experiences for this week, but it's been crazy. I'm playing great but I haven't really had a chance to enjoy it yet. But I'm taking two weeks off [after the British Open] to let it all sink in. It's just an honor being here."
O'Hair grew up in west Texas and has had considerable experience playing in wind. "Where I came from, we'd consider this a light day," he said Saturday. "I'm definitely used to the wind and this type of grass. All you hit in west Texas is a low hook, but it's a little tough to do that here. I'd just like a solid round [Sunday] and call it a week, go home and think back on the week. Obviously, it would be great to shoot a nice little 59 to compete with these guys tomorrow."
Lefty Falters After Hot Start
Phil Mickelson, who hasn't really been in contention in any of the majors this season, shot himself out of this tournament Saturday with an even-par 72, despite playing his first 11 holes at 4 under. He's now at 3-under 213 and would need a miracle to overtake Tiger Woods.
Predictably, his post-round interview was terse.
"I played well for 11 holes and I played poorly for the last seven," he said.
Asked about a double bogey at 13, he said, "I played well the first 11 holes, I just struggled in the end."
Any reason in particular?
"No, I just played poorly."
Did the wind bother him?
"No excuses. I just didn't play well the last seven, it was frustrating. . . . If I'd played the last seven well, I could have had a chance tomorrow."
Daly Keeps It Casual
John Daly, who won this tournament here in 1995, got off to a wonderful start Saturday with three straight birdies and managed a 70 -- 210 and a tie for ninth.
"I'm hoping I can still be in touch at the end; it depends on Tiger's round, really," he said. "If Tiger stays where he is and doesn't go too low, maybe I've got a chance if the wind whips up."
Daly caused a stir here earlier this week by not attending a Tuesday night dinner for past British Open champions in the Royal and Ancient clubhouse. He had a simple excuse.
"Well, it's a tie and a jacket and I don't travel with one," he said.
"You're not going to put a coat and tie on me for dinner, and I'm just being honest. The wives can't go and I'd rather see the wives being able to go instead of just all the guys, and that makes it all fun. I was feeling pretty tired, too. If I'm going to hang myself, I'll put a rope around my neck. I just don't get into those [dinners]. I think they're really boring."
And what does he remember about celebrating his victory in '95?
"I remember Otis Spunkmeyer's chocolate chip muffins, a lot of spaghetti Bolognese at the hotel and a lot of Diet Coke," he said.