Jeff Klauk is preparing for a challenge far more serious than any golf tournament he’s played.
The 11-year professional, who graduated from Nease and lives in St. Augustine, will undergo as many as three brain surgeries over the next few months at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
The first is scheduled for April 20 and will be an exploratory procedure in an attempt to pinpoint what Klauk calls “a spot on the brain” that doctors believe has caused eplileptic seizures since 2006. Klauk said there will be at least one additional surgery to remove the brain tissue causing the seizures, and possibly two more.
The amount of brain tissue to be removed is roughly 1 inch by 2 inches, and a quarter-inch deep. Klauk said it is located on the right side of his brain, “which is good news.”
“It’s going to be a challenge for my family,” Klauk said Friday after winning The Players Championship Charity Shootout at the 17th hole of the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course. “More so for them than me because I’m anxious to get this started and finally put an end to the seizures.”
Doctors have treated the seizures through medication to this point but Klauk said the side-affects “are not pleasant.” Despite the seizures, he played some of the best golf of his career and earned his PGA Tour card by finishing third on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2008.
The following year, Klauk earned a spot in The Players Championship on the course where his father, Fred, was the long-time superintendent. Klauk tied for 14th in The Players and went to finish 71st on the Tour money list.
However, a combination of injuries and his seizures have affected his game. Klauk missed 8-of-16 cuts combined on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour in 2010 and 7-of-12 cuts on those two tours last year. He has yet to make a start in the 2012 season.
Klauk said he has not been able to drive a car for the last 18 months because of the risk of having a seizure behind the wheel. He said a recent change in medication has side affects that include dizziness and small tremors in his hands.
He’s optimistic about the surgery. The best-case scenario is that there is a 90 percent chance it can control the seizures.
Klauk’s recovery time from the first surgery will be around one or two weeks.
“But the really big surgery, the second one, will take me a month to recover,” he said. “If everything goes well, I could be playing some Nationwide Tour events at the end of the year.”
Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/sports/golf/2012-04-13/story/pga-tour-veteran-jeff-klauk-undergo-brain-surgery#ixzz1sxqv0bMl