Pressure no problem for Holmes

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' J.B. Holmes is a Ryder Cup rookie, but hes practically a Ph.D. at handling pressure.
 
Even though the 26-year-old from Campbellsville wont make his debut on golfs biggest stage until later this week, something about it will seem familiar. As a precocious 8-year-old, Holmes played on the varsity golf team at his high school ' nervous as a kid can be, but never scared. He proved that by boldly calling a penalty on an opposing player who was double his age and three times his size.
 
J.B. Holmes
J.B. Holmes tees off Wednesday at Valhalla. (Getty Images)
David Parsons, Holmes coach at Taylor County High, recalled pulling the youngster aside at the time. I told John, if you let them get away with something, theyll try to get away with everything, Parsons said. I told him Youve got to stand up for yourself.
 
Holmes hasnt had much trouble holding his own ever since.
 
He admits to being nervous at the thought of teeing it up in front of home-state fans with sky-high expectations when the matches begin Friday. But scared? Not a chance. Holmes just doesnt do fear.
 
It doesnt really matter who youre playing, he said. If you play well and do the best of your ability, you can win.
 
He was a high school star on full scholarship at the University of Kentucky, but had always been more comfortable on the golf course than in the classroom. It wasnt until Holmes was diagnosed with the learning disability dyslexia that he understood why. And once he channeled his focus and ferocious work ethic toward school, he became an academic All-American.
 
You dont have to have everything be perfect to be able to be successful, he said.
 
That single-mindedness has led Holmes to Valhalla, two hours north and a world away from Campbellsville Country Club, where he honed his game playing 54 holes a day during the summer.
 
He joined the Taylor County High team as a kid because Parsons needed a player to help fill out the roster. Holmes shot a 56 on that first nine, so small he had to reach up to grab the handle of the pull cart he used to make his way around the course.
 
Yet his new teammates didnt exactly adopt Holmes as a little brother. During a post-tournament trip to McDonalds that first year, the older players piled out of the team van and dashed to the counter while Holmes stayed behind, intimidated by the idea of ordering food by himself for the first time.
 
The only place Holmes felt like an equal was on the course. So he dedicated himself to the game.
 
It was rough, being in the third grade and everything, everybody being older than me, Holmes said. I got picked on for a little while. In fifth and sixth grade, I started beating them and they stopped picking on me.
 
The easiest way to get somebody to be quiet, he added, is to just beat them.
 
He did plenty of that in subsequent years. Holmes was the teams best player by the time he was in middle school, and by the time he reached high school, his talent and the long drives his large forearms cranked out were already creating a stir.
 
During a fundraising tournament at the country club as a freshman, Holmes stood on the fourth tee and for a $25 donation, teams could wager whether he could rifle his tee shot onto a green 365 yards away.
 
He made it more than he missed, said Parsons, whose son Brandon is Holmes caddie. Its a God-given talent. It amazes me. It amazes everyone.
 
Holmes won the state championship as a sophomore, but an armful of varsity letters and junior titles did little to impress new Kentucky golf coach Brian Craig. Craig took an inventory of his players his first day on the job in 2001 and wondered why Holmes was on 100 percent scholarship in a sport where full-time rides are rare.
 
I think I told my wife, I dont think hes going to like me too much. Hes not going to be on a full scholarship after his freshman year, Craig said.
 
It took Holmes all of two shots to change Craigs mind. Yet all that talent was almost derailed by Holmes academic struggles. He was in danger of flunking out after his first semester until testing revealed he suffered from dyslexia.
 
He probably had to work twice as hard as students who dont have these weaknesses, especially when youre just really learning how to adjust, said Amy Craiglow, Holmes academic adviser at Kentucky.
 
With tutoring and extra time to complete his exams, Holmes was zeroing in on a degree when he decided to turn pro in 2005.
 
He validated that decision by taking medalist honors at Q-School to earn his card, then needed just five starts to earn his first victory, capturing the FBR Open in 2006. An up-and-down 2007 followed, but with the Ryder Cup in his sights, Holmes won the FBR again this February, then matched Tiger Woods nearly shot for shot before losing 1-up at the Match Play championship.
 
A strong showing through three rounds at this years PGA Championship had Holmes poised to play his way onto the Ryder Cup team. Then he made a triple-bogey on the opening hole Sunday. But that didnt stop U.S. captain Paul Azinger from selecting Holmes with one of his wild-card picks, and if fellow Kentuckian Kenny Perrys lobbying effort is successful, he and Holmes could wind up going off together in the first round of foursomes.
 
Azinger refused to tip his hand, but he did say this: I want everybody to get comfortable on the golf course, and Kenny and J.B. know it better than anybody.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Report Cards
  • European Report Cards
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

    By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

    “It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

    Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

    Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

    “I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

    Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

    Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

    “He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

    Getty Images

    Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

    Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

    Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.



    Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

    Getty Images

    What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

    Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

    Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

    Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

    Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Putter: Ping PLD Anser

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

    Getty Images

    Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

    1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
    T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
    T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
    T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
    T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
    T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
    T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
    T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
    T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
    T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
    T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
    T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
    T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
    T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
    T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
    T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
    T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
    T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
    T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
    T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
    T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
    T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
    T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
    T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
    T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
    T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
    T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
    T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
    T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
    T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
    T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
    T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
    T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
    T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
    T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
    T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
    T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
    T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
    T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
    T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
    T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
    T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
    T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
    T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
    T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
    T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
    T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
    T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
    T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
    T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
    T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
    T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
    T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
    T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
    T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
    T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
    T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
    T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
    T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
    T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
    T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
    T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
    T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
    T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
    T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
    T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
    T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
    T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
    T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
    T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
    T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
    T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
    T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
    74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440