Glover Caps Off Breakout Year with College Degree
'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.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.
Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.
“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”
It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.
Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.
“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”
It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.
McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.
But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.
“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.
“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.
“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”
McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.
“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”
McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.
How The Open cut line is determined
Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.
The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:
• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.
• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.
• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.
The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.