His PGA Tour debut was largely unnoticed until deep in the weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and only then because the same question kept coming up.
Who is Paul O’Hara? And how did he get in Pebble Beach?
The short answer would be the player with the largest collection of titles in the field.
O’Hara is a 36-year-old from Scotland, the younger brother of Steven O’Hara on the European Tour. He is a PGA professional who cleans up on the regional Scottish PGA circuits (36 wins in the last five years, 62 overall) and that doesn’t include his play on the Tartan Tour.
One of those regional events was at Skibo Castle, and his amateur that week was Colorado developer Patrick Hamill, a regular in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He raved about O’Hara to Pebble Beach officials.
Paul O’hara is a club pro from Scotland. He’s 36. He’s never played a pga tour event in his life. He’s play 7 Euro Tour events, but never made a cut.
He got an exemption into the AT&T this week, made the cut on the number and will play with Jordan Spieth today. Golf is awesome.
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) February 5, 2023
Steve John, the tournament director, was even more impressed with the letter O’Hara wrote seeking an exemption.
The Monterey Peninsula Foundation offered him an exemption, and John laughs at calling O’Hara to give him the news.
“He said, ‘Can I come tomorrow?’ It was snowing in Glasgow and he couldn’t practice,” John said.
O’Hara arrived a full week before the tournament, so early that no courtesy cars were available, so John let him use his own car to play and practice at Monterey Peninsula (“He’s practically a member now,” John said) along with Tehama Golf Club and other courses around the peninsula.
O’Hara had never made the cut in seven European Tour events dating to 2017. And then he came to California for his first PGA Tour event and made the cut on the number.
He played the final round alongside three-time major champion Jordan Spieth.
Alas, his memorable week ended with a double bogey on the ninth hole, dropping him to last place among 75 players who made the cut. He made $17,550.