WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Holmes to undergo brain surgery

EDISON, N.J. -- J.B. Holmes officially withdrew today from The Barclays, the first event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, and will miss the next three months of competition due to a recent diagnosis of Chiari malformations, a brain condition that will require surgery on Thursday, Sept. 1. Holmes will have surgery at The Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He is near his home in Louisville, Ky. this week for blood work and pre-op tests.

Holmes will not be replaced in The Barclays field, meaning there will be 123 players in the Playoffs opener (Charl Schwartzel is also not playing this week). If Holmes remains in the top 100 after this week, the Deutsche Bank Championship will feature 99 instead of 100 players.

Chiari malformations are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. When the indented bony space at the lower rear of the skull is smaller than normal, the cerebellum and brainstem can be pushed downward. The resulting pressure can cause a range of symptoms including dizziness, muscle weakness, numbness, vision problems, headache, and problems with balance and coordination.

Holmes began experiencing vertigo-like symptoms while at THE PLAYERS Championship in May. After seeing numerous specialists throughout the summer, he was diagnosed with Chiari malformations. The diagnosis was confirmed last week at Johns Hopkins and surgery was mandated. Post-op, he expects to begin chipping and putting within 30 days, hitting full shots and playing within 60 days and then back to competitive form within 90 days.

"I was really looking forward to the Playoffs this year and improving on my 34th-place finish from 2010," said Holmes, a two-time PGA TOUR winner who was ranked No. 66 in the FedExCup heading into The Barclays. "But with a three-month recovery before I can get back to form, we decided that the sooner I can get this procedure done, the better.

"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. 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.

"I really appreciate all the support from fans, friends and family, and I am looking forward to a full recovery for the 2012 season."

Holmes finished T6 at THE PLAYERS, one of five top-10 finishes of the season, and had made 10-of-10 cuts. But with the onset of Chiari malformations' symptoms in May, Holmes' performance suffered. He finished T59 and T47 at the Travelers Championship and AT&T National, respectively, then missed the cut at the British Open Championship and The Greenbrier Classic before withdrawing from the PGA Championship.


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