J.B. Holmes to have brain surgery

Updated: August 23, 2011, 12:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

J.B. Holmes will have brain surgery next week to clear up a condition called Chiari malformation and will miss the next three months of competition.

Holmes
Holmes

Holmes' agent, Terry Reilly, told GolfChannel.com that the condition is "non-life threatening" and that the 29-year-old Kentucky native "could be hitting balls in a month."

"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 Monday. "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."

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.

Reilly explained to GolfChannel.com that Holmes has suffered from dizziness, numbness, vision problems, headaches and problems with balance and coordination. The procedure will be done at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Holmes, who is ranked 66th in the FedEx Cup standings, began experiencing vertigo-like symptoms while at The Players Championship in May, the PGA's release said.

He officially withdrew from The Barclays, the first event of the PGA Tour playoffs for the FedExCup, on Tuesday.

Holmes made his PGA Tour debut in 2003 and has had five Top 10 finishes this year but has not played in a tournament since withdrawing from The PGA Championship, the year's final major. He has won $1.4 million this season and is tops on the PGA Tour in driving distance, averaging 318.4 yards.