Glover taking temporary demotion in stride


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The field at the Tour Championship includes a curious intersection of career arcs. Some prospects on the rise, some stars fading into decline, and plenty of names in between.

There is, however, only one major champion on the list, and you won't hear Lucas Glover dwell on his past accomplishments this week at TPC Sawgrass.

Glover received a five-year exemption for winning the 2009 U.S. Open, then added another year to that with his victory at the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship. Those exemptions ran out in August, though, sending the 35-year-old back to earn his status for the first time since 2004.

Glover took the temporary demotion in stride, and he opened the Tour Finals with three straight top-25 finishes, including a T-9 finish last week. With a return to the PGA Tour assured, he promptly began the season finale with a 6-under 64 on Dye’s Valley Course, putting him within a shot of Rhein Gibson. Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“It’s like the old saying goes. You dig your own grave, but luckily I’ve got a shovel,” Glover said. “It’s on me. I haven’t played well. Got into a funk and I’m trying to get my way out of it. I feel like I’m three quarters of the way there.”

Glover’s woes have long been traced back to his putting. After finishing the 2013-14 season ranked 177th in strokes gained-putting, he fell last season to 184th. He has turned around his overall performance by improving from close range.

“Got some confidence in the short putts. Finally a lot of hard work is paying off, and a lot of 6-footers and in are going in the middle of the hole,” Glover said. “There’s confidence in the stroke instead of wishing the ball in. Any golfer knows you have to have that, so that’s been the difference for me.”

Glover will return to the PGA Tour for his 13th straight season later this month thanks in large part to a workmanlike attitude that eschewed his prior credentials and focused instead on the task at hand. That same attitude also has him in contention for what would be his first win in more than four years.

“I never wanted to dwell on the past these four weeks. That’s pointless. You start doing that and these guys will kick you right in the head, because they’re really good,” he said. “It was four weeks, do your job. You’ve got a job to do, so do it. At the end of the four, if you reach your goal, pat yourself on the back. If not, go back to work. That was my mindset, totally, and still is.”