PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla . -- There was a slightly unfamiliar name on the leaderboard for most of Thursday morning at the Players Championship, given that it had been months since he'd climbed that high up the pecking order.
It was none other than Sean O'Hair, who has been on the radar lately only for the wrong reasons.
O'Hair got off to a strong start and was 4-under and stationed in the top 10 for a couple of hours before finishing with a 71. Still, given the way he has played lately, it was a huge step forward.
In a move that generated some buzz last week, O'Hair parted ways with swing coach Sean Foley and went back to his former teacher, Steve Dahlby, who helped launch O'Hair career years ago. Foley, of course, has been in the news a bit lately as the man behind Tiger Woods' new swing.
"I feel like I was thinking too much out there," O'Hair said. "I feel like I played golf today and not golf swing. It's nothing against Foley. I just needed something different and more natural for me."
Clearly. O'Hair had missed five straight cuts and hasn't mustered a top-20 all year.
O'Hair has a reputation as a slow player, and it sounds like it relates at least partly to the confusion in his head about how to properly belt a golf ball, which has always been the strongest part of his game. O'Hair is a terrific ball-striker and regarded as a so-so putter at best.
"I'm standing behind the ball [before address], and I can't walk into the ball and hit it," he said of his confusion.
Finishing 1 under isn't anything that had him declaring that his slump is over, but he was certainly in a better mood than he's experienced for months.
"I needed a change of scenery for me," he said.
That would include his caddie, too, sort of. Back on the bag is father-in-law Steve Lucas, who has looped off and on for O'Hair several times over the years, often with solid success.
"It's not permanent," O'Hair said. "He's just trying to help me get back on my feet."