Lucas Glover's performance, and presence, are exceptional at U.S. Open

Lucas Glover’s performance, and presence, are exceptional at U.S. Open

Lucas Glover shot a six-under 64.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Lucas Glover is a throwback to an earlier era, and not just because he's the quintessential southern gentleman and has a Hogan-like lag in his swing.

Check this out: Glover, who shot a second-round 64 and at seven under trails leader Ricky Barnes by a shot at the halfway point of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, actually reads. And not just yardage books, either. Books.

"I read fast," he told me once over breakfast at Doral Resort and Spa in Miami. "I read about a book every three or four days. I just went through all the Lee Child books."

The Child books chronicle the life of hardened do-gooder Jack Reacher. Glover started reading the first one at the Mercedes Championship in Maui, which is played in early January. He'd finished the then-nine-book series by March 1.

"Murder mysteries, thrillers — it might be more of an addiction," he continued. "I sit down and two hours later I'm going, Oh, man, I've got to go to sleep."

Glover not only reads fast, he plays fast — an exception in an era of plumb-bobbing, wind-checking and slow-as-molasses golf.

After playing Bethpage until darkness Friday, he finally went to bed at around 10:45. Sleep was going to be at a premium — Glover would get up at 4:50 the next morning to finish his second round — but still, he read for 45 minutes.

Although he makes his living in the hermetically sealed bubble that is the PGA Tour, Glover has a reader's curiosity. He knows his history, for one thing. His grandfather Dick Hendley played blocking back for Clemson before graduating to a brief pro career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"They were the last team to run the single-wing formation, which is what they ran when he was at Clemson," said Glover, who also went to Clemson and played his first 36 holes here with fellow alumni Kyle Stanley and D.J. Trahan. "After that, everybody went to the 'T' and the 'I' formations and didn't require a blocking back anymore. So he came home and started a business."

Glover credits his grandpa for giving him his start in golf. He is an old 29, in a good way. He married his high school and college sweetheart. And when his longtime swing coach Dick Harmon died unexpectedly in 2006, Glover was a pallbearer and spoke in front of 1,200 people at the funeral.

"Just a fraction of the number that he touched and he knew and enjoyed being around him," Glover said.

Because every tournament is played in a place with a name, a history and a character all its own, Glover makes it a point to look beyond the gallery ropes. Fans at Bethpage Black will be glad to know he's even a bit of a New Yorker. After marrying wife Jennifer in 2005, the couple honeymooned in the Big Apple.

"We both had always wanted to go to New York and see it at Christmastime," he said. "It was great. We did 'The Producers.' We went to the park, Rockefeller Center, did all the touristy stuff."

A lifelong Yankees fan, Glover's affinity for New York dovetails nicely with his 'Seinfeld' obsession. He has every episode back home in Greenville, S.C.

"I watch 'em over and over," he said. "I like the one when they meet the guy named Jimmy in the gym and play basketball with him. The episode is called 'The Jimmy.' Kramer has got a mouthful of Novocain and is talking funny. It's priceless."

Golf hasn't always been such a laughing matter.

Having won just once in his five-plus-year Tour career, at Disney in 2005, and earned a spot on the 2007 Presidents Cup team, Glover's results have yet to catch up to his talent. At 6'2" and nearly 200 pounds, he fits the mold of the modern power player. He has huge, golfer's hands, which help his ball-striking but don't mean much when it comes to putting.

"I drove it great for the last 27 holes," Glover said after he finished his second round, during which he hit 11-of-14 fairways even in the poor light of dusk and dawn. "And driving the fairway at an Open, you're going to have some birdie chances."

Or, to be more specific, you're going to have some chances on a course made sponge-soft by weeks of rain.

At Bethpage, with its British Open weather, Glover, who grew up in Masters country, got the right side of the draw. He will sit back and watch the other half get doused with rain Saturday, and he'll have time to kill. Good thing he brought a book.

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