In 1993, Bob May had a tough decision to make.
He was a couple of years out of college. He was newly married. He was trying to establish himself on the PGA Tour. And he was doing it out of a cramped apartment in Anaheim Hills, Calif.
May looked at his options and saw that Las Vegas, with its weather, affordable housing and numerous golf courses, was a good place to put down roots. It also didn’t impose a state income tax.
“That was a good decision, said May, 45, who is best known for his playoff against Tiger Woods in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla. “We’ve loved it here, and it’s been great to see the sport grow over the years.”
Tonight on The Hill at TPC Summerlin, May will be honored with induction into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame along with Brenda Knott, Ray Norvell and Bill Walters. The ceremony is the unofficial kickoff of activities for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which gets underway Thursday.
“It’s a very special honor,” May said. “You put in several thousand hours, and people see when you play on the Tour. But they never see the sacrifices you make. That’s what makes this honor so special, that all that hard work is recognized.”
May continues to help grow the game locally. His Bob May Golf Academy at Silverstone Golf Club is dedicated to helping young players improve as they make the inevitable transitions in golf.
“Whether you’re a junior high school player trying to get to high school or a high school player trying to get to college or a college player trying to go on the tour, we’re looking to help the local kids get themselves ready to play at that next level, wherever it is they want to go with their golf,” May said.
But May isn’t ready to give up competitive golf. He has battled back issues the past few years that have limited his time to play. And even though he’s 45, he still believes when healthy he can hold his own.
“I owe it to myself to try,” he said. “I’ve had surgery on my back. But I’m feeling really good. I’ve lost 15 pounds and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in years. And I really want this.”
May, who played collegiately at Oklahoma State and was a member of the 1991 U.S. Walker Cup team, has one career pro title, that coming in the 1999 British Masters. He defeated Colin Montgomerie, who at the time was the world’s No. 2 player to Woods, to take the title.
“I’m going to try and play and also teach,” he said. “I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but as long as I feel good physically, I feel I owe it to myself to try.”
Joining May in the induction ceremonies is Knott, who is considered one of the top female amateur players in history and was a multiple winner of the Women’s Southern Nevada Amateur and Women’s State Amateur titles. Norvell has been a longtime supporter of the sport at multiple levels, from amateur and high school to the PGA Tour.
Walters, who is well known for his sports gambling exploits, is the owner and developer of three local courses — Bali Hai, Desert Pines and Royal Links. He has been active in the local golf community for more than four decades.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.