Lucas Glover's is one of those precious stories that leaves the sport of rediscovering oneself, of being reborn after having hit rock bottom, of never giving up despite adversity. From winning a major to having to recover the PGA Tour card up to two times, going through an infinity of problems with the yips, those involuntary spasms that some golfers suffer when kicking.
Glover never gave up, and has finally found his comeuppance. At 43 years old, he is the current fashionable player on the North American circuit, with two wins in two weeks. Yesterday's, also, of great merit: the St. Jude Championship, the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Lucas Glove, history
In 2009, already a regular on the PGA Tour and with a previous title to his credit, Glover signed up for the US Open, the first major of his career and which placed him among the best on the planet.
The one from South Carolina, however, did not live up to the expectations generated around it. The cause of this, his poor performance when it comes to pocketing the ball. He was, and still is, one of the best in the world from tee to green (this year he leads in the proximity to the hole statistic, the closest he gets with his irons).
But the leads went off when kicking. This year, for example, is the 166th best on the PGA Tour, and rarely has he had better finishes. Long in the shadows, Glover had to fight in the mud to stay among golf's elite. The results did not come, and in two seasons he had to fight in the Web.com Tour Finals to keep his PGA Tour card.
Failing to do so would have spelled disaster for him. Despite this, the problems with the Yips persisted. At the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, Lucas remembers there was a time when he couldn't even swing the putt. His body was completely blocked, the result of panic.
And he happened to her again a few weeks later. He moved heaven and earth to solve these problems: he visited an endless list of specialists, psychologists, tried all the existing putts... But nothing worked. Until May of this year.
Everything changed for the veteran golfer when he contacted Jason Kuhn, a former baseball player who was forced to retire during his college days, in which he excelled, due to the yips that pitchers also suffer. Kuhn, now specialized in helping athletes suffering from this pathology, joined the famous Navy SEALs after saying goodbye to sports, the United States Army Marine Corps known for its tremendous toughness.
“I want to make it clear to the players that this is not due to a lack of mental toughness. I see it as an injury, and continuing to compete shows mental strength”, explained the specialist to the Golf Channel. After a video call, Kuhn convinced Glover to work together.
The marine made him understand what was happening to his body at those moments, and made him see that he was not someone weak, quite the opposite. It took effect immediately. At the 2023 Memorial Tournament, the first tournament Lucas played after these sessions, the American missed the cut but stated that he had felt comfortable on the greens for the first time in a long time.
And the progression continued. Glover switched to a longer-than-normal, chest-resting broom putt and began to remember that player who won a US Open 14 years ago. When Kuhn began collaborating with Glover, the golfer was 184th in the FedEx Cup rankings, 147th in the world rankings and 199th (out of 205) in putt gains on the PGA Tour.
Three months later, Lucas is 4th, 30th and 166th, respectively. Along the way, five top-6s in the last six tournaments he has played, and two consecutive wins. Last week he won the Wyndham Championship, a smaller event but which was his first victory since 2021.
Seven days later, surrounded by the best in the world, he won the St. Jude Championship, the first round of the playoffs for the FedEx Cup.