Glover tries to stay in the moment and as everyone looks back

By Doug Ferguson, AP
Thursday, July 2, 2009

Glover trying to look beyond US Open

BETHESDA, Md. — U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover is ready to move on with the rest of his season.

Trouble is, he can’t go anywhere without being reminded of the past.

It has been only two weeks since Glover hit the best 8-iron of his life to 5 feet for birdie on the 16th hole at Bethpage Black, then closed with two solid pars for a two-shot victory and his first major championship.

He has been to the top of the Empire State Building, read the “Top 10″ list on David Letterman’s show. He has been showered with praise from his peers and fans who once didn’t know who he was without looking at the name on his bag.

“It’s been a little busier,” Glover said, “but for a good reason.”

The 29-year-old from South Carolina is ready to come back to earth, even if the descent won’t produce a sonic boom. If he was on Cloud 9 at Bethpage, he said jokingly Wednesday that he now is on Cloud 4.

“I’m just trying to get back to normal … and playing golf,” he said.

No one can fault his effort.

Despite the whirlwind week after the U.S. Open, he stuck to his commitment of playing the Travelers Championship in Hartford, Conn., where he posted three rounds of 65 and tied for 11th. Next up is the AT&T National, which starts Thursday at Congressional, and two days of playing with tournament host Tiger Woods.

Then it’s on to the John Deere Classic — another commitment he wasn’t about to break — and the British Open, for which he wasn’t even eligible until winning the U.S. Open.

Why so many tournaments?

“I needed Hartford, here and John Deere to try to get myself into the British Open, and that was the reason I was playing,” he said. “I was scheduled to play. And I won. And I didn’t want to change because of that. Just playing well, so I wanted to keep going.”

He faces a 120-man field at Congressional that includes Woods, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and defending champion Anthony Kim.

Woods is playing his final event before the British Open, and history is on his side. He already has won twice this year in his final start before a major, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

He can go for the hat trick on two counts — another win before a major, another win in which a PGA Tour player is the host.

In this case, that would be him.

“I love being the greedy host,” Woods said. “It is fun winning your own event. Hopefully, I can do that again this week.”

Woods didn’t play last year in the AT&T National because it was a week after reconstructive knee surgery that kept him out of golf for eight months. He watched from home as Kim shot a bogey-free 65 in the final round for a two-shot victory.

Glover played last year and didn’t break par until a 69 in the final round, giving him a tie for 54th. It was another ordinary finish during an ordinary year, so frustrating that Glover pledged to take the rest of the year off when his card for 2009 was secure.

That’s just what he did, heading for home after the BMW Championship in St. Louis.

The time off allowed him to cool down. Glover has had high expectations of his golf, and it had been disappointing. His lone PGA Tour victory came at Disney in 2005, and only after he holed a 40-foot putt from the fringe on the 17th and holed a bunker shot on the 18th.

“I worked hard and I had success every level I’d been at, and I wanted to come out here and do well,” he said. “I had high expectations of myself. Maybe lowering them for this year might have helped.”

Glover figured that out mostly on his own.

He needs help from others on how to cope with being a major champion. He already has sought advice from Davis Love III, whom he considers to be family, and from good friend Zach Johnson, who won the Masters two years ago.

Both know the kind of pressure that comes from winning a major, not to mention the distractions and offers. Glover already has said he will not chase the money overseas or whittle away his offseason playing every silly-season event on the calendar.

For now, it’s about moving down those last four clouds until his feet are on solid ground.

“Zach … he was one of the first people I saw Wednesday,” Glover said. “He said, ‘The only chance you’ve got to be normal right now is to play golf.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m doing that.’”

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