Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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4 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE PGA 24, one of the fastest-ever to top $1 million in accumulated earnings. He came back two years later to repeat as the 2008 FBR Open champ, beating Phil Mickelson in an extra-hole playof, and at one point that year advanced to 42nd in the world rankings, his highest status so far. (He was 70th on the list this June.) He capped the year with a starring role in the Ryder Cup, held at Valhalla in 2008. As happens with most tour golfers, though, his fortunes turned, forcing some attitude adjustments. "I have a mental coach I've been working with," Holmes told me during our interview on the Memorial practice tee. "I'm trying to enjoy it out here more, not take it quite as hard. "I try to not think about the score too much. Some weeks the ball bounces into the hole, some not. I try to get as unat- tached to the results as I can get." Holmes became severely detached from his golf game in May 2011. He was competing in the Players Championship, one of the year's biggest tournaments, when he started feel- ing dizzy, like he might topple over into one of greenside wa- ter hazards. Te wooziness continued and he withdrew from the following week's event. Ten-girlfriend Erica Kahldin — now Erica Holmes after their marriage (his second) in April 2013 — recalls the rounds he went through with doc- tors, who frst suspected migraines or a sinus infection, then tested him for vertigo. "Te exercises they had him do were quite entertaining to watch," said Erica, a Louisville native and emergency-room nurse. After a frustrating series of dead-ends, Holmes was diagnosed by a Johns Hopkins surgeon with Chiari malfor- mations, structural defects in the portion of the cerebellum that controls balance. He had surgery in September 2011 to remove the skull abnormalities, sufered a setback when an allergy to an adhesive the surgeon used to secure a titanium plate in his head caused major infammation, and then un- derwent a second operation to clear up the complications. When Holmes picked up a driver again, his tee balls were traveling just 250 yards instead of the gravity-defying 350 he previously carried with regularity. Killen said Holmes had to relearn how to leverage his swing against the ground to regain his awe-inspiring clubhead speed. He returned to the tour for the 2012 season and fnished 80th in year-end earn- ings with $1.18 million. Ten, in early 2013, his career took another duck hook to the sidelines. Holmes broke his left ankle while rollerblad- ing. During that downtime he had surgery to repair a left elbow he'd injured hitting too many golf shots too quickly trying to get back from previous layofs. His daily calendar at that time often included a four-pack of ankle rehab, elbow rehab, acupuncture and physical conditioning. But he was determined. Said his wife, who took a year of from nursing to help with the recuperation at their home near Orlando, "It was good to see that fre come back. He grew up loving golf. For a few years he played because that's what he was good at, but I don't know if he still had that love in it. I think he re-found that." Holmes also changed his technique on shots of 100 or fewer yards ("more fnesse, less clubhead speed") and fne- "He grew up loving golf. For a few years he played because that's what he was good at, but I don't know if he still had that love in it. I think he re- found that." — Erica Holmes

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