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TEE TIME: J.B. Holmes is back

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Tee Time

By Dennis George

I’ve always wondered about athletes who can go from a super-competitive mode to such a somber mode as soon as an event ends, and when they are asked a question from the media, they can quickly say, “I want to give praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

It’s made me restless.

Maybe it’s because I question their motives and wonder if they are truly sincere.

Or better yet, because I’ve always believed that one’s religious beliefs are a private matter, maybe those actions take me out of my comfort zone.

However, moments after Campbellsville’s John “J.B.” Holmes had made a three-foot putt on Sunday to win the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, he composed himself before talking to David Feherty.

And gave thanks to God for allowing him to continue to play the game.

And I was very comfortable with him saying it.

Many of you know the Holmes story.

Three years ago he had brain surgery after suffering severe dizzy spells. A few months later, he had to undergo a second surgery because he was having an allergic reaction to the adhesive holding the titanium plate to the base of his skull, causing bad headaches.

Last year, he broke an ankle while rollerblading as part of a conditioning program. And while he was away from the tour recuperating, he underwent surgery on an elbow that had been giving him problems.

But he’s back now, and perhaps in a position to have his best year since his rookie season on tour.

His comeback has been mentioned on a top 10 list of players who have rebounded from catastrophic occurrences, a list that includes Ben Hogan, Gene Littler and Paul Azinger.

And Holmes has come back with a vengeance, to a point where he’s being touted as a possible Ryder Cup captain’s pick.

He began the year playing on a medical hardship status, needing to make nearly $600,000 to maintain his card. He did that at the tournament in New Orleans two weeks ago. Last week’s win gives him exempt status through the 2015 and 2016 seasons, ensures his entry into next year’s Masters, and more.

Those closest to Holmes say the year away from the game has changed him.

“I was having dinner with John back in January and I’ve never seen him so relaxed,” Campbellsville County Club pro Mike Kehoe said earlier this week.

Maurice Holmes, the golfer’s dad, told me a month or so ago that his son was in the best physical condition of his life.

“After being off for a year, I think it’s the mental part of the game. Where he has to be in the mode to compete is going to be the tough thing,” he said.

And who has a better seat to the action than Brandon Parsons, Holmes’ boyhood friend who gave up a banking career to return to the life of a tour caddy.

“John has been working extremely hard to focus on staying in the moment, and not getting ahead of himself,” Parsons said. “He’s used the accident as motivation to get better.”

In an interview on Tuesday, I did ask Parsons about the decision to hit the driver off the tee on the 18th hole with a two-shot lead and water on the left side. Those of you who watched the telecast will recall announcers Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz questioning Holmes’ mindset.

“We never talked about hitting any other club,” Parsons explained. “Before the round, I had walked the course and checked the location of every tee box. John hits the ball so far that it took the bunker out of play. We stuck to our game plan and hit the driver like we did every other day.”

Be ready to welcome hundreds of golfers to Bardstown for what is the arguably the biggest golf weekend of the year. The Bourbon Open begins a week from today at My Old Kentucky Home.

 

Results

Jack and Jill Couple League

Division Leaders

Scratch: Ron/Colette Shagool

Hook: Mike/Ella Elliott

Slice: Larry/Pam Ball

Bogey: Andy/Mary Royalty

Low Gross: Ron/Colette Shagool (70)

Low Net: Larry/Pam Ball (67)

Closest to the hole: Mary Royalty (#2) and Alex Hey (#7)

 

Boone’s Butcher Shop AM League

First place: Bruce/Alex Hey (22 points)

Second: Walt Liebergott/Jeff Reynolds (20.5)

Third: Tommy Reddick/Mike Jameson (20)

Low gross: Chris Gilpin and Dale Smith (tied with 36)

Low net: Freddy Lyvers (28)

Closest to the hole: Mike Bartoszek (#2) and Alex Hey (#7)

 

Boone’s Butcher Shop PM League

First place: Mike Wheatley/Joe Clayton (23.5 points)

Second: Bard Wise/Jay Evans (22)

Third: Gavin Walls/Pat McCauley (21.5)

Low gross: Joe Judson (even par 35)

Low net: Tim Gilpin, Gary Conway and Joe Clayton (tied with 33)

Closest to the hole: Joe Clayton (#2) and Wally Bowling (#7)

 

OKH Men’s League

First place: Jeff Lear/Thomas Hamilton, J.T. Roby/Mike Ayersman, Ken Rapier/Denny Adams, Dennis Carey/Billy Gentry, Roger Carey/Alex Carey, David Etheridge/Joe Buckman, Danny Nally/Gerry Gaines, Jon Chesser/Bill Osbourne (all teams have 3 points)

Low gross: Richie Berry (even par 35)

Low net: M.T. Harned (31)

Closest to the hole: Patrick Carey (#2) and Alex Carey (#7)

 

Maywood Men’s League

First place: Garrett Antle/Phillip Wheatley (6 points)

Second place: B.J.Newton/Glenn Koger (5.5 points)

Third place: Mick Spalding/Ty Puyear and Chad Riggs/Tommie Hurst (tied with 5 points)

 

Dennis George is a contributing writer for The Kentucky Standard and can be reached at dmg11854@gmail.com.