Holmes to undergo 'low risk' brain surgery, will miss about three months

j.b. holmes
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J.B. Holmes has been dealing with vertigo-like symptoms since May and has gone to several specialists.
By
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, August 22, 2011 | 5:42 p.m.

J.B. Holmes withdrew from The Barclays on Monday as he prepares to have brain surgery that will force him to miss the rest of the season.

Holmes has been diagnosed with structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. He has been dealing with vertigo-like symptoms since May, and after going to several specialists, recently learned that he has Chiari malformations.

The surgery is Sept. 1 at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital

“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.”

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 that include dizziness, muscle weakness, numbness, vision problems, headache, and problems with balance and coordination.

Holmes, a two-time PGA Tour winner who played on the Ryder Cup team that won in his native Kentucky in 2008, was No. 66 in the FedExCup standings.

He tied for sixth at The Players Championship when the symptoms began, and has not finished in the top 40 since then. He withdrew from the PGA Championship after one round.

Holmes is hopeful of returning to competition about three months after the surgery.