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February 1, 2007

Billy Mayfair


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Billy, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the FBR Open. Nice round, nice start to the week. Nice to play well close to home.
BILLY MAYFAIR: Absolutely. Great to be close to home. In fact, my house is only 150 yards from here, so it's nice to be home. In about five more minutes -- after I leave here in five minutes I'll be home.
It was good to get off to a great start. I've had a rough last three weeks on the tour. I played well on the back side, which was my front, and then made some putts on the front side. I was real happy with the day.

Q. You said you kind of had a rough last three weeks. Is your stamina getting better or something different with your game?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Definitely my stamina is getting better. That was something I had to be careful with at the start of this year was to kind of slowly work my way back into it. I've hit the ball really well the last three weeks, just didn't make putts. Last week it was really hard to make putts, but the other two weeks the greens were really good over in Hawaii and Palm Springs. But just wasn't making anything, and today they started going in.

Q. How much has the former Sun Devil strength coach, Tim McClellan, helped you with your fitness?
BILLY MAYFAIR: He's done an amazing job for me this year. I started working with him in December and he's really got my endurance back up. And I knock on wood, I've had no back problems or back pains, which after three or four weeks on the road I started getting a little sore and all that. And I've stayed in good shape and he's really got me back into good shape.

Q. What kind of program does he have you on?
BILLY MAYFAIR: We do a lot of cardio and lifting and stretching, and then we do my favorite, ab work, and all that good stuff. Maybe that's one reason my back hasn't been bothering me as much this year. I have lost some weight and stuff. We just take it one day at a time, but I feel much better now that I've been working out again.

Q. How much weight have you lost?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Right now close to about -- is it 13 pounds? Which for me during the off-season is pretty amazing; when you have a girlfriend cooking for you all the time it's hard to lose weight. Once you get married they stop cooking for you.

Q. With everything that went on last year, how did you focus on golf enough to have the kind of year you did with everything going on around you?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I don't know, it was funny. A lot of crazy things happened to me last year, but I think once I got on the golf course and once I got inside the ropes I was in my sanctuary then and I knew the phone was turned off and no one could touch me or talk to me for about four and a half to five hours.
I looked forward to coming to the golf course. I didn't have to talk to lawyers, I didn't have to talk to doctors, so when I got in between the ropes it was a sanctuary for me, so that's kind of how I looked at it.

Q. Was there any time when you were inside the ropes that it got into your head?
BILLY MAYFAIR: It got many my head every once in a while. I know at the PGA my endurance was low after the surgery and all that stuff, but I just tried to get back into hitting my golf shots and playing one hole at a time and doing my routine out there instead of worrying about other stuff that was going on in my life.

Q. There's a lot of times when people who go through this stuff that you've gone through do a "why me" type of situation. Did you do that at all or did you deal with the situation and just move on?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I feel very strong about it and stayed strong with it. I never used the "why me" because when you have cancer you go into the hospital and you see the next person sitting next to you and he's probably worse off than you are, so you should never say that about that.
As for my whole marital affair and all that, that's just something that happened and I had to deal with it the best I could. I never used it as an excuse and I never used "poor me" or anything like that. My mom getting sick was hard, too. I lost my dad a long time ago, so my mom is the only one around. That was hard. It's still hard to see my mom because I'm used to seeing her out here at the tournament, being vim-vigor and running all over the place, and she's not able to do that this year.

Q. She's in an assisted living facility?
BILLY MAYFAIR: She's doing much better. I've got her away from the doctor she was going to go see, had her on too much medication. She's off a lot of that medication now and started to feel much better for it.

Q. Did you ever think about what happened with Heather Farr and Missy, and did you ever take a chapter out of that in terms of looking at the illness and realizing the strength that's needed to battle through that? Has that ever entered into your reflection on all this?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Obviously after I was diagnosed with cancer and I learned a lot -- I did a lot of reading on the Internet and books with testicular cancer and all that, but I also talked to Missy quite a bit just to kind of get input into it, and I would hope that someone who got cancer would maybe call me and talk to me now, just to kind of know what was going to happen and kind of take one day at a time. Missy came to a couple of my treatments and all that stuff. It was very special to have a close family member with me at all times.

Q. How closely do you have to monitor the cancer? Do you have to go in all the time for checkups?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, I'm free right now. I'm clean right now. I had 18 treatments of radiation during the off-season. The doctor has given me the green light to go, and I'm supposed to get checked out now every six months, do blood work and all that every six months and kind of go from there. Right now I'm clean and healthy and trying to get my strength back.

Q. How did you discover you had cancer?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I flew back to Flint, Michigan. I had the week off and I was going to go down to Detroit and work a little bit with Rick Smith, and I was just taking a shower and just felt something not right down there, and when I looked in the mirror I could really see my -- I don't mean to get exclusive here, but my right nut was about the size of a baseball, and I knew something wasn't right from that.
Luckily I went to Flint, saw the doctor there on call who sent me to a radiologist, who sent me to this, and they discovered it pretty quick for me, and I got home, and Gil Brito was the surgeon here. I came home on Tuesday, he looked at me on Wednesday and we did surgery on Thursday. It was bing, bang, boom. He was the one who encouraged me to go play the PGA a couple weeks after that. I just wanted to get clean and well and do whatever we needed to do. He thought if I felt up to it I could go, and I gave it a try.

Q. Were you just going on adrenaline the first two rounds?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I don't know about adrenaline. I was just happy to be out there. It was just a different atmosphere. It was an experience I've never experienced before because the fans were so great there in Chicago. They cheered for me from the moment I got on the 1st tee to the 18th green.
Every moment they were cheering for me, and that's something I've never experienced out here on Tour. I've had them cheer for me when I've hit great shots and for winning and stuff, but for something that was absolutely different from playing golf was just a new experience for me, and they were wonderful. All the letters and all the calls I've gotten from people and from other athletes all over the country has been very touching for me.

Q. How about your great shots today? What was good about the round today, and did you have anything that was kind of flashy?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, I birdied 3, 4, 5 and 6, so I kind of got it on a roll there.

Q. All just one-putts.
BILLY MAYFAIR: All one-putts.
I bogeyed 7, hit a 3-iron just right of the green, chipped up six feet behind the hole and made it coming back.
Birdie on 9, hit a 9-iron four feet from the hole and made birdie on 9. I was playing like I have been the last three weeks and on the front side make some putts.

Q. Were they close putts or did you make anything long?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I think the one on 3 was about 20 feet. The one on 4 was probably 15 feet, the one on 5 was ten feet, the one on 6 was the closest, that was about six feet from the hole. And then again, the one on 9 was about from four feet.

Q. You had three pretty life-changing events happen in a close span. Is there a point where you just go, man, what's next?
BILLY MAYFAIR: Yeah, many times I sat here at home, and you feel like you get your divorce taken care of, and the next thing it's the cancer, and the next thing after that it's my mom was sick. I went back to the PGA and was feeling pretty good, playing good. I get the phone call the Friday night of the PGA that my mom is in the hospital, had a stroke and a heart attack. It seemed like they all jumped on me all at once. It definitely made me a stronger person, that's for sure.

Q. You seem more determined now, seem to have more goals and are reinspired this year?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I got a new lease on life. It's that simple. You know, when I was diagnosed with cancer my first thought was of my son Max. Am I going to be around to see him grow up, go to college, play baseball, whatever he does.
One moment I go from worrying about making six-foot putts to worry about if I'm going to be alive to watch my son go to college. It changes your whole perspective on life and everything like that. To come back on and play on the Tour and kind of get my life back to normal, I've had to readjust a lot of things. It's been hard, but you just take it one day at a time.

Q. What is your mom's name?
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Just one other thing I noticed on 1, did you make a long putt there?
BILLY MAYFAIR: I made a long putt on 1. I hit it in there about 30 feet left of the hole and made about a 30-footer there for birdie.

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