HomeSportsSweaty Lucas Glover is a recognizable hero to the masses

Sweaty Lucas Glover is a recognizable hero to the masses

Lucas Glover sweated out a victory in Memphis. (Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A friend’s text came through a little after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night, a succinct commentary on the progress of the FedEx St. Jude Championship: “I think Glover should change pants.”

Lucas Glover was having a hard time. Not with his golf game – he was tied for the lead in the tournament at the time, the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs – but with his aesthetic. Poor Lucas was sweating in the Memphis heat, so much so that large, unfortunate stains appeared on his khaki pants, front and back.

While fellow competitors like Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa looked sleek and comfortable in the stifling humidity, the sweaty, tired, 43-year-old Glover looked…well, he looked an awful lot like us. Who hasn’t felt the cold, clammy slickness of sweat at a crucial moment, wondering if they have what it takes to move forward? And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to change pants at that moment?

There is, of course, one key difference between Lucas Glover and your daily sweat-dripping weekend hacker. Glover just won two straight PGA Tour events, Sunday’s FedEx St. Jude and last week’s Wyndham, pocketing just under $4 million in eight days. Not a bad run for a man who sweats worse than a teenager trying to buy beer for the first time.

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“You work hard either way whether you’re fighting something or playing great,” Glover said just after his win on Sunday. “You just work hard because you never know when it might turn, and it’s very fast for me. Fortunately, I am in a good frame of mind to take advantage of it.”

As late as June, Glover looked like he was in serious danger of losing not just his PGA Tour card, but the entire thread of his career. During a qualifying tournament for the US Open in Columbus, Ohio, he missed an 18-inch putt that would have sent him back to the tournament he had won once. The road was dark, but to Glover’s credit he never considered calling it a day.

‘If you had told me [two consecutive victories were coming] three months ago I would tell you that you are crazy,” he said on Sunday evening. “But at the same time, if you legitimately asked me if I thought I was capable, I’d say yes, even then. It’s just one of those sad ways athletes are wired. We always believe in ourselves, no matter how bad it is.”

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It was very, very bad there for a long time. Glover is best known for winning the 2009 US Open, beating Phil Mickelson and others by two strokes after having to qualify his way into the tournament. Not long after, he slipped into a decade-long slump, a grim slog in which he had to play his way back onto the PGA Tour, even as his 10-year US Open exemption dwindled to nothing. He’s not even eligible to play in a major since the 2022 PGA Championship.

So why continue? Why continue to hack if the brick wall between you and success seemed to get higher and thicker every year?

“Maybe I’m really stubborn,” Glover said. “You know, [for the last] 10 years to this run, I underperformed and knew it. It all came from the putting.

Glover switched to a long putter earlier this summer, and while it wasn’t a quick-change magic wand—he missed that US Open qualifying putt with the long putter—it gave him the confidence he needed to realign his entire game.

Now he enjoys everyday life a little more. A lifelong golf grinder, it’s full of old-fashioned observations that will appeal to pros and hackers alike. (“It’s fun,” he says of touring life, “except when I have to do my laundry. Then it’s not so much fun.”)

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Plus, he even indulges in that ultimate Golf Guy fantasy: the Life Hack. Late into the tournament Sunday, he dipped his hands into trackside ice water-filled coolers. He was cooling off, yes, but in true Golf Guy fashion, there was also a deeper purpose.

“If you let them sit there as long as you can tolerate it and then wipe them off real quick, it closes your pores for 10, 15 minutes,” he said. “It literally keeps them from sweating for a while.” Come on. If that’s not the most daddy advice trick – “Put your hands in ice water, you’ll keep from sweating!” – and here’s Glover doing it on the 71st hole of a golf tournament.

Unfortunately, Glover wasn’t able to keep his butt from sweating – the PGA Tour probably wouldn’t have approved of him sticking his bare butt in a cooler – but so what? He’s on his way to the Tour Championship, he’ll get waivers to the signature 2024 PGA Tour events, and he’ll be playing in majors again.

Every time he’s sweating now, he knows he can handle the pressure… no matter how he looks while doing it. There’s something inspiring about that, even if you grin a little while watching.

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