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A Fine Specimen

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA | The small specimen jar sits in J.B. Holmes’ closet at home in Orlando.
As keepsakes go, a piece of skull floating in formaldehyde is a little awkward to keep in the family room. But when doctors carved that chunk of bone out of the back of Holmes’ head in the fall of 2011, he said he wanted to keep what they took out.
Holmes said he rarely looks at it but keeps it close to remind him of where he’s been and the road he’s traveled.
“It’s kind of shriveling up now,” Holmes’ wife, Erica, an ER nurse, said. Holmes, however, is back in a big way, winning the Wells Fargo Championship Sunday at the Quail Hollow Club with the kind of heavy-metal golf that made him one of the game’s most jaw-dropping talents before his career went silent more than two years ago.
Holmes is a stockier, less-eccentric version of Bubba Watson, each of them possessing power rarely seen outside a Transformers movie.
Bubba’s bombs have a rainbow quality to them, bending in various directions, practically leaving a color trail in their wake. Holmes just sledgehammers the ball, using his thick arms and homemade swing to bruise his Srixon. It’s blunt-force golf.
Before Sunday, it had been six years since Holmes had won a PGA Tour event. It came at Phoenix – the second time he won the tournament played inside the most famous party in golf – but he couldn’t crack the code again.


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