“It’s hard to put the ball in the hole when you are seeing three of them (holes),” said Amanda Rowland, Holmes’ sister who lives in Danville.
Holmes, 29, will have brain surgery next week at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to help alleviate a condition called Chiari Malformation after several weeks of tests and uncertainty about what was wrong with the Campbellsville native and former Kentucky standout.
The condition is created when the indented bony space at the lower rear of the skull is smaller than normal, the cerebellum and brainstem can be pushed downward. It causes dizziness, numbness, vision problems, headaches and balance problems and has plagued Holmes since mid-May, and is why he has not finished better than 47th in any tournament since then.¿He also missed the cut in two tournaments and had to withdraw from the PGA Championship after the first round.
“It goes back to the vertigo and the medication has just not worked,” Rowland said. “But this is a minor procedure mainly to alleviate the migraine headaches. It won’t be a big deal. On a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worst, the surgeon said this is a one. There are no tumors. This is not life-threatening or anything like that.”
Holmes confirmed the same basic information to The Associated Press.
“I know when people hear ‘brain surgery’ it conjures up all kinds of images, but this a relatively low-risk surgery and only takes about an hour and a half,” Holmes said. “Best of all, there’s a very high success rate in fixing the condition. It’s just such a relief to know that there’s a name for what I’ve been going through these past few months and that I have a good chance of getting back to golf and to my regular life.”
Holmes still ranks first on the PGA Tour in driving distance at 318.4 yards (Bubba Watson is second at 314.4) and is ninth in birdie average at 4.08 per round (Steve Stricker leads at 4.48). Holmes has won $1,398,583 this year despite his medical issues and still is 74th in the World Golf rankings.
Holmes, a two-time PGA Tour winner, tied for fifth at the Phoenix Open in his second start this year and was 12th at the Northern Trust Open. He tied for fifth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championships despite losing a 5-up lead to Watson and falling in the quarterfinals after beating Camilo Villegas (4 and 2), Ernie Els (1-up) and Jason Day (1-up). He finished ninth at the Wells Fargo Championship where he had a rare double eagle and was sixth at the Players Championship.
“He was really off to a good start, but this is why he’s not had quite the stellar year he hoped,” his sister said. “Depth perception problems and big migraine headaches have really taken a toll on him. The migraines have been really bad the last few months. That’s why this was a scheduled thing and not a surprise.
“We appreciate all prayers and concerns to lift him up. All prayers are welcomed for a fast recovery, but this is not life-threatening. It is not anything that bad.
“Come January we hope he will be as good as new. I think this will probably end his season, but he’ll be back hitting balls way before January. About 95 percent of the people are born with this, but it doesn’t bother most people. If it does, it happens at about his age.
“We are getting a ton of calls and messages, but I am not overly concerned. It is surgery, but he will be in good hands and he’s going to be fine.”
But it’s still fine to wish him the best and look forward to seeing a healthy J.B. Holmes back on the course in 2012 playing the great golf that many of us have seen him play since he burst on the seen a young phenom at Taylor County.