tclakin

Lucas Glover Wins US Open; Family, Friends Excited

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Lucas Glover, the unlikely US Open champ

Lucas Glover, the unlikely US Open champ

Lucas Glover held on to win yesterday at Bethpage, making the 29 year-old the 2009 US Open Champion to the excitement of….well, nobody, really.

The comeback of David Duval and Phil Mickelson’s late surge ruled the day as far as storylines went, leaving Glover to fly under the radar on his way to a 73 and his first major championship. While the US Open dreams of his playing partner, Ricky Barnes, came crashing down all around him, Glover was able to dodge the shrapnel and deliver a final round that, while certainly not spectacular, was just good enough to seal the win. A clutch birdie on 16 put the trophy out of reach for both Mickelson and the rejuvenated Duval and, after Barnes missed a cardiac birdie putt on 18, Glover stood over a par putt for the US Open win. He sunk it and promptly reacted with the type of enthusiasm usually reserved for funerals or public speaking.

I mean, the guy barely even smiled! No Tiger-esque fist pumps, no riding of the putter a la Boo Weekley, not even a Mickelson 2-inch celebratory leap. He simply raised his hand in anti-climactic triumph and plodded off to find his wife Jennifer for a hug.

Many – me included – exploded, calling Glover a boring champion, a one-hit-wonder, a party pooper. This was the US Open, for crying out loud – where was the great story? Where was the drama??

But then I stopped and thought for a second. Wait a minute, I said to myself. What’s more exciting than a qualifier coming out of nowhere to win the US Open? Wasn’t I just wondering the other day if anyone would emerge as this year’s upset winner?

Well, we found him. World, meet Lucas Glover – a real life Tin Cup.

Glover, we learned yesterday, is just an unassuming Southerner from South Carolina; merely a quiet golfer trying to do his best as a little fish in a big sea. He’s stoic in defeat and, it appears, humble in victory, though the sample size – 2 PGA Tour wins – remains insufficient. “It’s an honor to be on the trophy,” he said in a post-win interview. “I just hope I don’t downgrade it it or anything with my name on there.” Ultimately, the picture that emerged of Glover in the wake of his Open win was that of a regular guy. And really, isn’t that the whole point of the event? It’s an Open – anyone can catch fire over a weekend and win the thing. But many – and again, I’m including myself here – shake their fists and decry such an outcome. Nobodies aren’t supposed to win major championships, we’ll say. The Tiger’s, the Phil’s, the Furyk’s – those are the guys who’s names belong on the Cup.

Well, I realized something yesterday, after watching Glover win and listening to him talk afterward.

I realized that there’s something to be said for the out-of-nowhere winnner, even if he’s a shy guy who shows little emotion on the course. I realized that sometimes it’s more fun to get behind the guy no one knows who just might have a shot to be champion. I realized that, sometimes, it’s good to let go of the Big Story and just enjoy the little story for what – and who – he is.

Just ask Glover’s cousins, Todd Hendley and Billy Johnson, who bought last-minute final round tickets on ebay when it became clear that Glover had a shot at winning.

“Best day of my life,” said Johnson. “Unbelievable.” (quote courtesy of Bob Harig, espn.com)

Somewhere Roy McAvoy is smiling.

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