October 12, 2007–Bob May, a Las Vegas resident, has had his share of injuries over the years, and at one time dealt with a back issue that was nearly golf-career ending. But it looked like he had everything going well of late, but then during a routine workout earlier this year, he hurt himself while using an ordinary piece of gym equipment. "Earlier this year I started out playing pretty well and then hurt myself at the gym, working out on the Life Cycle, of all things," May said following a blistering first round at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin in the FRYS.com Open Benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children. "Just warming up and my hip got tight and it locked up, and before you know it it went into my back. I thought I blew my back out. It was just a very severe muscle spasm and it put me out for 12 weeks. I thought for sure they were misdiagnosing me. And they were saying, No no, everything's fine. I went through MRIs everything, and they're trying to tell me it's fine. I was like, There's no way.".
"They were right, it was fine but it took a long time for the muscle to release and to get my body realigned to where I had to pain. And then I've played well. I've been hitting the ball really well this year, and that's the disappointing thing. I just haven't been scoring. It's nice to finally get a good round under my belt. Who knows what could happen this week. I'm just going to go out and play every day and find out — hopefully something good will happen at the end of it."
The FRYS.com Open continues today through Sunday at Las Vegas golf courses TPC Summerlin and TPC Canyons. The final two rounds will be played solely at TPC Summerlin. Ticket info available at thefrysopen.com.
Bob May official transcript courtesy of ASAPSports.com
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bob, thanks for joining us after a 9-under 63. Great start to your week. Maybe some comments about the great day for you.
BOB MAY: Yeah, it was nice to birdie the Par 5, 13. And then 14 — well, 13 I had just a little tap in and 14 I had a tap in and 15 I hit it in there in probably two and a half feet. So it was a nice little roll to get me going.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You started off the day with a bogey. Obviously you don't want negative thoughts after the first hole, but…
BOB MAY: Right. I hit a drive down the right side and I thought, Oh, it might be just short of the bunker. It ended up out of the bunker on the top lip. I was standing in the bunker and the ball is waste high and I'm thinking, How did the ball ever get there?
I mean, this is a local boy, you know, getting some bad luck real quick. I hit it just off to the front of the green and putted it by about, oh, I guess four or five feet and then missed it. So kind of got off to a slow start and I said, Don't let it bug you. There's a lot of holes out here. Just try to be patient.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: And as far as your season, you missed a couple months early in the year with some injury problems. Talk about your year and kind of what you're looking to do during the fall series.
BOB MAY: I'm just looking to get some good tournaments under my belt. Earlier this year I started out playing pretty well and then hurt myself at the gym, working out on the Life Cycle, of all things. Just warming up and my hip got tight and it locked up, and before you know it it went into my back.
I thought I blew my back out. It was just a very severe muscle spasm and it put me out for 12 weeks. I thought for sure they were misdiagnosing me. And they were saying, No no, everything's fine. I went through MRIs everything, and they're trying to tell me it's fine. I was like, There's no way.
They were right, it was fine but it took a long time for the muscle to release and to get my body realigned to where I had to pain. And then I've played well. I've been hitting the ball really well this year, and that's the disappointing thing. I just haven't been scoring.
It's nice to finally get a good round under my belt. Who knows what could happen this week. I'm just going to go out and play every day and find out — hopefully something good will happen at the end of it.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: 25 putts today. You went to a belly putter at some point.
BOB MAY: I went to a belly putter last week. I would practice with it and practice with it. I've had friends say, Why don't you just use it? Try it. I play so much by feel and it's not something I'm used to, so I had to practice and practice.
Finally I just decided, you know what, I'm going to go with it. So I tried it last week and had a little success, and obviously today I have to complaints.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You're off to a great start. We'll take some questions.
Q. So you were on the elliptical machine or the bike?
BOB MAY: Just a Life Cycle, so just a stationary bike.
Q. Do you still feel like you're in the comeback mode?
BOB MAY: The way I played all year, yeah, I still feel like I'm trying to fight my way back in. If you look at the way I played it doesn't look very good this year. I've actually struck the ball very well this year, I just haven't got anything out of it. Hopefully I'm going to start getting something out of it.
Q. I mean, when you say you're hitting the ball well and nothing good's coming of it —
BOB MAY: The only thing I can think is I'm starting to putt and roll the ball better. That's where the scores are made. I've gone to this belly putter, and I don't know if it's that or a change of putter, just changing it up.
And maybe that's what it is, but it's just putts are starting to fall.
Q. It's kind of a radical change.
BOB MAY: Yeah, it's very radical change, but I've been practicing with it for two months. I just never got the confidence of actually putting it in play. It's hard to put in play, because the greens are so fast. You don't have the same feel as a normal putter, at least for me. Some guys may.
I don't because I play by feel. It's hard. Those greens were really fast out there today, and I just had to trust my instincts I guess.
Q. (No microphone.)
BOB MAY: Yeah. They're way over 11 and a half, I tell that you right now. I guarantee you they're every bit of 12 and a half. I promise you. I play here every day when I'm at home and they're usually 10 to 11, and these are a lot faster.
There are some putts out there you can't hardly stop. You can't complain. They're flawless. They roll good. It's not like we have slopes that are just ridiculous where you can't — you put a pin and you will never be able to stop it up by the pin.
The breaks are — you have a lot more breaks on the greens because they are so fast. Only unfortunate thing for the guys tomorrow is if it gets windy they're going to have a heck of a time out on these greens that fast.
Q. Why did you finally go to it last week? You said your friends had been encouraging you for a long time.
BOB MAY: I think my wife was going to beat me if I didn't. My wife, my caddie, everybody. They kept on saying, Just try it. Try it. We can tell you want to.
Because I would take it out in practice rounds. It actually does help your normal stroke, too, but, you know, it's so different.
Q. Can you just talk about how hard it's been to deal with this it back issue of yours over the last few years and how you don't let it discourage you.
BOB MAY: It's hard. Back in '03 when I got injured I didn't play golf until '06. You know, I actually went almost two and a half — well, about two years and three, four months never even swinging a golf club.
Q. How weird is that?
BOB MAY: It was weird, because I love golf. If I didn't play on the Tour I'd play recreationally as much as I could. I love the game. It's become a big money thing now, but when I started to play you could make a decent living, but it wasn't like astronomical like it is now.
I learned to play the game for the love, not for the money of it. I love the game. I was never forced to play by my parents. My parents always told me I could quit any time I wanted, so I purely play the game because I love the game.
Q. Have you worked at all with Keith Kleven to get your back right?
BOB MAY: I rehabilitated with Keith, but I'm now working with Tim Soder and his group that used to be with Keith.
Q. How is that spelled?
BOB MAY: Actually I think it's S-o-d-e-r. Gosh, what is her name? It's right off 215 and Sunset there. Tim Soder's Physical Therapy, I believe.
Q. How has that been?
BOB MAY: It's been great. Really good. Everything's been good and they've been great. Like this morning I went in there at 5:00 this morning and worked out. I figure I'm at home I do it every day before I come out and practice. I been going to the gym every morning and working out with those guys. Obviously tomorrow I can't. It's a little bit too early.
Q. (No microphone.)
BOB MAY: I don't know. There could be, because I didn't change my routine when I was — like when I'm at home I do the same stuff as I would, or I did today, just like I would if it was any other day when I was home.
Q. What would it mean to at least be in the hunt Sunday, much less win? I know what it would mean to win it. If you could get to Sunday with a shot, what would that mean to you?
BOB MAY: I would love to have a shot for it. More or less I'd love to see — nothing against all the other guys on Tour. I'd love to see a lot of Vegas guys involved so that hopefully we could bring people out to this venue. I think it's a great venue, and hopefully we never lose it.
The only way we can get this venue to be supported is for us local guys to play better and bring people out.
Q. Is it a bit discouraging to see nobody out here today?
BOB MAY: Yeah. I mean, but I don't know, even if we had, you know, Vijay, Tiger, Phil. We have John Daly out here who's a huge draw. There's so many different things to do here in this town. You know, we're going to reach out to the true golfer.
But other than that, it's hard to get people to come out. There's so many other distractions. People come to Vegas to go to shows and other things. I don't think it's because they don't like golf. I think this weekend with the local people we'll have a good crowd out here, I hope.
Q. Are you completely pain-free? And how long has that been? Or are you still having some issues?
BOB MAY: I'm not completely pain-free. Compared to what I was, yes, I am pain-free. I mean, before I would just be miserable. But I get fatigued, let's say more than pain. All it takes then is me bending over and picking up something wrong and that fatigue turns into a spasm or something. That's where I really got to be careful.
Q. Tomorrow's going to be windy supposedly. You got to play The Canyons. You got to be out there early. It's cold. How do you manage your game in these conditions and trying to put up respectable number to stay in the hunt?
BOB MAY: I know you guys get tired of hearing it, but we're going to play one shot at a time. That's all you can do. Just trying to plug along and be patient. If it's going to be windy as they say it is, it's going to be tough with the greens as fast and hard as they are.
I think back in — I'm trying to think what year it was, maybe '97, '98, I was in contention here. The average score was 67 out here. It blew that day on Saturday I belive it was and the average score was 77. Ten shots.
So I mean, that's how drastically different these courses can play when it gets windy. So I'm just going to try to be patient and go about my business.
Q. (No microphone.)
BOB MAY: I don't think I have an edge with the way it is now. In the wind, maybe, because I might know some areas that, you know, I know now the ball is going to run off and I might be able to play away from it.
For example, like today at No. 11, the green was softer than any other green. But usually if you go for that back pin you go over the green. I hit it short and it stopped on a dime. It was the softest green out there. It was like, Of all the times the ball's been bouncing and releasing and it didn't do it. So if that one gets hard tomorrow you'll see a lot of balls over the green in that little collection area.
Q. Would you say you still have, you know, a back spasm every day or a couple a week?
BOB MAY: No, no. When it has a spasm it's a bad thing and it'll shut me down. Actually I did have it two weeks ago. I had to withdraw from Mississippi. That was the last time. It was very minor.
It grabbed me when I bent over to pick up a putt and then it got worse the next day, and so I pulled out the next week of Mississippi couple weeks ago.
I went and had therapy with Tim and Joe. Worked out and everything went away in probably about four or five days. Nothing like what I had at the beginning of this year.
Q. This morning what did they put you through?
BOB MAY: I just did my normal work out: Stretching, some weight lifting, just normal stuff I always do. I haven't been back on the Life Cycle. I used to cycle every morning. Anywhere from 12 to 20 miles every day, day and I hadn't been on a bike since that day in February.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Okay, Bob, thank you very much.