Lucas Glover kept the faith en route to win at John Deere Classic
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The 41-year-old made it back to the winner's circle for the first time in over 10 years
Written by Craig DeVrieze @PGATOUR
Lucas Glover’s interview after winning John Deere
SILVIS, Ill. — At the lowest ebbs of a decade-long wait between PGA TOUR wins, Lucas Glover twice found himself fighting through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to retain his place on the PGA TOUR.
Neither time — nor at any point before, during and after — did he question his ability to play winning golf at the highest level.
Sunday at TPC Deere Run, the 41-year-old native South Carolinian validated that self-belief, emerging from a wild, wooly and very wet slogfest by finishing a 7-under final-round 64 with a run of five birdies between the 12th and 17th holes for a two-shot victory at the 50th John Deere Classic.
“I think any time you win it's gratifying,” said Glover, who backed a breakthrough win at the FUNAI Classic at the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort and a career-defining victory at the 2009 U.S. Open with a 2011 Wells Fargo Championship title, then battled through ups and downs — but never crushing doubt — over the ensuing 10 years.
“I've always been a big believer in there's nothing guaranteed in this game. It can be easy one day and be really, really, really hard the next.
“Yeah, it's been a difficult 10 years, but I never lost my faith, never lost my drive, never lost the self-belief.”
Glover heads to this week’s 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club, where he led after 36 holes in 2011, having elevated his ranking in the 2021 FedExCup standings to 32nd with his fourth top-10 finish in 25 starts this year.
Not to mention, with the only proper response to those who may have doubted his ability to win again. For all of his professed self-belief, he conceded personal validation is the only thing that matters.
“Every morning and every night you've got to answer to yourself, no matter what,” Glover said with a philosophical perspective borne of hard-earned experience gained through 17 years on TOUR. “No matter what anybody else says good or bad, it's still you, yourself, your inner peace and what you're telling yourself, what you believe every day.”
Glover becomes the sixth PGA TOUR winner over the age of 40 in the 2020-2021 season. That includes a pair of wins by Stewart Cink, 48, and, of course, a PGA Championship victory by on the cusp of-51 Phil Mickelson at Kiawah Island, S.C., 200 miles south of Glover’s native Greenville.
“It was great to see them win when a lot of people had counted them out,” he said of a crew that also includes 49-year-old Brian Gay. “‘Oh, he's old, he's over the hill, blah, blah, blah. Young guys on the TOUR, et cetera, et cetera.’
“Yeah, it was inspiring and great because they're friends of mine, but it was also like, ‘All right, maybe it's not too out of the realm of possibility.’”
No one journey from possibility to reality is the same, of course, and, again, for Glover, the valleys traversed over his decade-long wait for win No. 4 were deep but not desperate.
“I went to the Korn Ferry Finals twice, one after an injury and one after playing so bad, and luckily was able to get my (PGA TOUR) card back both times,” he said. “You know, it was bad, but in the grand scheme of things, I still was a pro golfer and still had a chance to get my job back. You know, that was pretty low, but as far as how I kept going, it's just self-belief and the ability to work hard, trust what you're working on and believe in yourself, and I've always done that.”
Never, he said, did his U.S. Open victory at Bethpage Black in 2009 weigh him down.
“No, no albatross,” he said. “That's one of those things they can't ever take from me. It was always nice to reflect back on that and say I did it at the highest level, executed at the highest level. It's still in there. It doesn't go anywhere. You've just got to find it.
“Like I've said numerous times today, I never once lost faith, never once quit believing in myself. Fortunately, I understand that this game is hard, and there's going to be struggles. Nobody has ever come through a long career on TOUR and not had a difficult time at some point, whether it's 10 years or 10 weeks. It happens.
“That's where the perspective came from. And the self-belief. It was just, I know it's in there. I've just got to find it.”
Consider it found. And count a decade of self-belief fully founded.