Glover Caps Off Breakout Year with College Degree


When Lucas Glover took the stage at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum to finally get his speech and communications degree, it was the first time in a while the rising PGA Tour star's name hadn't gotten much of a reaction.
'Nobody knew who I was,' Glover said Friday, chuckling. 'It was actually kind of nice.'
Glover was more than satisfied with the simple handshake and congratulations he got from Clemson University President James F. Barker at Thursday's ceremonies.
The cap-and-gown walk capped a landmark year for the 26-year-old Glover - he married his high-school sweetheart a few weeks ago and won his first PGA Tour event along with more than $2 million in a breakthrough pro season.
'Yeah, this year was pretty special,' Glover said.
With the help of Barker and Glover's former Clemson academic adviser, Joe White, the golfer wrapped up a better 2005 than he hoped for.
When Glover finished his eligibility in 2001, he was four credit hours shy of a degree. Glover, who grew up about a half-hour from Clemson in Greenville, wanted his diploma. But he was also ready to start his golf career.
In 2003, Glover finished 17th on the Nationwide Tour - sort of the Triple A of golf - to qualify for the PGA Tour. Despite winning $557,454 in 2004, Glover had to survive qualifying school to keep his card for this past year.
And Glover made it a remarkable season.
Glover had five top 10 finishes, including a third at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, between February and May to all but guarantee he'd escape Q-school. Then he fulfilled a longtime dream with his first tour victory at the FUNAI Classic in October that earned him $792,000 and vaulted him into the year-ending Tour Championship.
The success also got Glover thinking again about his degree.
He arranged to take a biology course online, sometimes coming after practice or a tournament round to read up on multi-celled organisms. Glover finished up soon after his final tournament and passed. The degree was his and he was ready for Clemson's December graduation.
That's when Glover discovered he missed the deadline to register for his cap and gown. Glover was only weeks away from marriage - and the plans that typically takes - so he figured he'd just skip the ceremony.
But at a Clemson golf gathering, Barker had heard of Glover's predicament and told the prospective graduate that he could borrow one of the president's ceremonial robes.
'That was a pretty tough offer to turn down,' Glover said. 'So I did it.'
Glover picked up his garb on the way to Littlejohn Coliseum and joined about 1,300 graduates, including football stars Tye Hill and Charles Bennett, for the ceremony.
The cynics out there might wonder why Glover even bothered with his studies with his growing bank account and limitless potential. 'It's something I always wanted to do,' he said. 'That's the only reason.'
With marriage and a degree behind him, Glover's free to prep for the expectations sure to follow him on tour next year.
He leaves next week for Hawaii where he'll open his year at the Mercedes Championships and the Sony Open.
Glover's goals are simple - to win again, make some noise in a major and try and make a run at the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
'You know golf though,' he says. 'You can't be sure what happens out there.'
Glover made sure he took the uncertainty out of finishing college.
'Well, it'll be one less thing to worry about forever,' Glover said. 'I think it will help me because the thing is, I did it.'
Just like several other feats for Glover in 2005.
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