KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Sean O'Hair didn't know how good his 2009 season was until he discovered just how bad he was hurt during it.
O'Hair found out in December that he played 15 of his 26 tournaments last year with a stress fracture of his left ulna bone, the lower bone in his forearm. An X-ray he had taken after the Chevron World Challenge revealed the injury, which he sustained in May at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, two weeks after his third tour title at the Quail Hollow Championship.
"I didn't know it was broken. I just thought it was an arthritis thing ... getting older," O'Hair said Saturday at the SBS Championship at Kapalua Resort after a third-round 2-under 71 on the Plantation Course put him in a tie for fifth at 13-under 206, four behind leader Lucas Glover. "I was just popping Aleve like candy."
O'Hair, 29, said he would take at least three Aleve or 4-5 Advil before each round. He remembers injuring the arm working on impact drills prior to Colonial. "I got too steep on one on that hard surface at Colonial, and I kind of tweaked it. I was OK Thursday and Friday [shooting 64-65] but played bad on the weekend. [He tied for 18th.] Then I tried to play Memorial and I couldn't, and I really struggled with it all year."
O'Hair opened with a 76 at Memorial and didn't finish better than joint 23rd until the FedEx Cup playoffs. He finished strong, however, with a tie for eighth at the Deutsche Bank Championship followed by fourth at the BMW Championship and third at the Tour Championship before helping the U.S. team win the Presidents Cup.
He is contending at Kapalua despite taking three weeks off after Chevron without hitting a ball. He rested at home near Philadelphia and went hunting for geese. He arrived in Maui Jan. 2, but practiced minimally before the tournament. He has eschewed hitting balls after his rounds, a regimen he intends to continue next week at the Sony Open in Hawaii before taking off for three more weeks.
"Actually, I'm surprised that I was able to play as well as I did all year. I take that as I'm a bad-ass. (Laughs.) A tough guy. It's still a little tender. Even if I just press on it a little bit. But more rest and it will be fine."
-- *Dave Shedloski