Tour Championship
August 20, 2019

Lucas Glover, following turbulent 2018, is back at East Lake for the first time in 10 years

BMW Championship - Round 2

Keyur Khamar

ATLANTA — A year ago Lucas Glover lost his tour card, finishing 135th in the FedEx Cup standings. Months before, he had lost his privacy, the details of a personal incident spilling into headlines. Trials that make Glover's presence at this year's Tour Championship all the more rewarding.

"Good, honestly. Excited, a little tired, but here we are," Glover said on Tuesday at East Lake when asked his feelings about returning to East Lake. "All good things."

It certainly has been for the 39-year-old this season. After earning status through the Tour Finals last fall, Glover recorded 16 top-20 finishes and ranked 16th in strokes gained in 2019 to finish 32nd in the FedEx Cup regular-season standings. That position dropped to 41st after a T-43 at the Northern Trust, needing a push in Chicago to reach the Tour Championship. Through three days at Medinah, it appeared that would ring true, as a 68 and pair of 69s left Glover in a tie for sixth heading into the final round.

But Glover bogeyed the 16th hole and followed with a double, putting that Tour Championship bid—and the treasures that come with it—in doubt. On the final hole, Glover faced a testy two-footer for par.

"It was one of those where you wish it was kind of downhill so you didn't have to make as big a stroke type thing, but it wasn't," Glover said. "Yeah, a lot going through my head there, and it was straight and just go make it. Easier said than done."

But he converted, a putt good enough for his third-straight 69, finishing T-7 at the BMW Championship and earning the Atlanta invite.

“I felt some real satisfaction, not like winning, but, still, like I won a long battle,” Glover said.

In many ways, he had. Last May, Glover's wife, Krista, was arrested on domestic battery charges against Lucas during the Players Championship. Glover would make only two more appearances after the incident before opting for arthroscopic knee surgery in June.

Glover has kept mum on the subject, saying only the police reports weren't accurate. During January's Desert Classic, Glover stated he and his wife were in a "new chapter" of their marriage and that they had renewed their wedding vows.

“It was the closure of everything, of all the mess for us and a symbol of a new beginning,” Glover said in La Quinta. “It was emotional and symbolic.”

So too is Glover's appearance this week. It marks the first time since 2009—the year Glover won the U.S. Open—that he's in the Tour Championship field. While acknowledging this year has been a career revival, Glover said the process started three years ago when he began working with instructor Tony Ruggiero.

"Tony was like a breath of fresh air. It was back to the fundamentals," Glover said. "First lesson we had, he goes, I don't really care what kind of shot you're hitting. If you're aimed way over there, you're not going to hit the shot you want to hit. I'm trying to hit a hook and aiming it left. It didn't make any sense. First 30 minutes I argued with him on where I was lined up."

Perhaps Ruggiero's biggest assistance was bringing joy back to Glover's game, which Glover said had "sucked it all out for a long time."

"He started making it fun again. We laugh as much as we work and while we work, which has been refreshing because it got way too businesslike, way too serious for me, and that's not how I ever really approached it when I was playing my best," Glover said.

Glover will begin 10 shots back of Justin Thomas when he tees off Thursday morning. Though that seems like a tall obstacle to hurdle, it's nothing compared to the one Glover's jumped this season.

"It kind of put a bow on the year. Kind of sit back and think, all right, I'm here," Glover said. "It must have been a pretty good year."

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