J.B Holmes is a golfer from Campbellsville (Ky.) that currently sits near the top the leaderboard after two rounds at the 2019 British Open. He surged ahead of the competition on Thursday after recording six birdies en route to a 5-under par. On Friday at Royal Portrush, he posted a solid 68 to hold a single-stroke lead.
Two of the bigger accomplishments in his career to this point include this year’s win at the Genesis Open and his 2008 appearance on the Ryder Cup team. At both of them, his wife Erica Holmes cheered from the sidelines.
Aside from the emotional support at home, she has actually been a major factor in getting his golf career off the ground. Here’s 5 Fast Facts you need to know about her.
1. They Met in 2010 in Louisville & She Didn’t Know He Was on the PGA Tour
J.B. confirmed to Golf.com in Jan. 2017 that he started dating Erica in 2010. She was a nurse in Louisville at the time, and didn’t immediately know that her future husband was a successful PGA Tour pro.
“She thought I was a club pro,” he said. “The first tournament I took her to was Phoenix in 2011. She figured it out then—like, Okayyy, this is different than I thought.”
It took her a little bit to get acclimated to golf culture. As J.B. states, she thought the Ryder Cup in 2008 (which took place in Louisville) was actually a horse race.
It didn’t serve as an impediment. According to the Express, the couple reportedly got married in 2013.
2. Both Have Undergone Brain Surgery
Holmes had to endure two different brain surgeries. The first was to fix structural defects in the cerebellum known as Chiari malformations, which required removing a small portion of his skull. The second one was to deal with his allergic reaction to the adhesive used in the first procedure.
According to Golf.com, he benefitted from Erica’s medical knowledge, as well as his mother (also a nurse).
“If I really sat down and just think about it, yeah, it was extremely scary,” he said. “Luckily, I didn’t dwell on it. I didn’t study up on it and read everything about the surgery and see what could go wrong. I’ve got to go get surgery, let’s get it done. Do what I’ve got to do to get back out here.”
Coincidentally, Erica required three brain surgeries before she even met J.B., although she makes an important distinction between their respective procedures.
“She doesn’t call mine brain surgery,” he said to Golf.com. “With mine, they cut out a piece of skull and put a metal plate over it. She had brain surgery.”
Before the medical emergencies, J.B. had won the FBR Open twice (2006, 2008), as well as the 2008 Ryder Cup over the European team. All of the attention towards his skull led to a nearly 6-year gap between wins. Since his return, he has seized three PGA Tour wins and qualified for another Ryder Cup in 2016.
Another piece of support besides Erica has been his dog Ace. The Goldendoodle has helped as a service dog, as some of the complications Holmes has faced since the surgery include vertigo.
“Ace has his green service-dog vest when he’s in the airport,” he said. “As soon as we get on the plane, he lies down and goes to sleep. He’s been doing it since he was little, so he’s used to it.”
3. Erica Transitioned from Being a Nurse to Charity Work & Running the Business End of J.B.’s Career
According to LinkedIn, Erica Kalbhin (her maiden name) now works as the CEO of JB Holmes Golf. This includes managing his sponsorships and running the financial side of her husband’s golf career.
Since turning pro in 2005, he has raked in over $25 million in career earnings. In addition, Erica manages his endorsement deals and sponsorships, which include Apex, Callaway, Sunice and Yum!.
With the substantial income, Erica and J.B. also participate in a lot of charity work. He was honored at the 2016 President’s Cup for his work with Assumption High School in Louisville.
Erica, an alumna of Assumption from 2005, established a scholarship that awards $2,500 to incoming freshmen to the prep school that demonstrate “leadership by performing an additional 5-10 hours of community service during their freshman year beyond the requirement of AHS.”
It’s also awarded based on financial need and academic achievement.
“Knowing I was supported gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in life after graduation,” she wrote when starting the scholarship fund. “It is my wish to pass on this experience to other young students. I want them to help others by participating in community service. It is through community service that I realized how blessed I am.”
4. The Holmes’ Are Based out of Bradenton (Fla.), But Are Trying to Sell Their Home
The Holmes’ are based out of Bradenton (Fla.), but according to Jack Flemming of the Los Angeles Times last December, they are looking to sell their home for $2.15 million. This is reportedly $100,000 more than the original purchase four years ago.
Set lakeside on three-quarters of an acre, the two-story house expands to a glass atrium with a fountain-fed swimming pool with a spa, kitchen and fireplace. Inside, five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms are spread across 6,325 square feet.
He is one of several PGA Tour stars that choose to reside in Florida, as the weather accomodates practice all year round.
5. They Have One Son Named Tucker Bradley
Erica gave birth to their first child Tucker Bradley, who was born on Dec. 23, 2017. According to Kentucky Sports, the son was there to give his dad a big hug after the Genesis Open victory earlier this year.
Erica posted a video on the PGA Tour’s Facebook with Jackson, congratulating dad on his win, as well.
“Hey, this is Erica,” she said with Jackson situated at the front of the camera. “We’re so excited. Tucker is so excited. Can you show them how excited? Say ‘Yay Daddy!’ There you go!”
With Holmes atop the leaderboard at the British Open, Tucker and Erica may have even more to cheer about come Sunday in Northern Ireland.