Is Lucas Glover the hottest player in golf?
At the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday, he certainly looked to be.
To see how the sweltering Memphis heat was affecting Glover, you needed to look no further than his khaki pants, which were so sweat-soaked that Glover looked as if he’d run through a couple of sprinklers at TPC Southwind.
It was that kind of week at the PGA Tour’s first of three playoff events, where the heat index threatened 120 degrees. In the second round, which Harris English described as “the hottest I’ve ever felt on a golf course,” English’s own caddie needed to be helped off the course with heat exhaustion. Jordan Spieth said he was “humbled” by the oppressive conditions, adding, “It’s just a different kind of heat.” Said Tommy Fleetwood, “Obviously the disadvantage is just how sweaty it is, how slippy your hands can be, and the grips and everything.”
The third round wasn’t much better — “I haven’t played in this heat since maybe Memphis last year,” Justin Rose said — and neither was Sunday’s fourth round, which brings us back to Glover’s sweaty adventures.
At the Wyndham Championship last week, every part of Glover’s game was dialed — including his short putting, which a decade-long case of the yips had derailed — and he won by two. In Memphis, Glover continued to play well, posting 66-64-66 in the first three rounds, but said he felt like he didn’t have total of command of his swing and was only able to go low thanks to his short game. On Sunday, Glover made just one birdie in his first 13 holes and looked destined to kick away the tournament.
“It was a physical fight,” Glover said of the round. “I was fighting my swing and wasn’t hitting it great. Pressure-wise, I’d say on par with last week but just different. Last week was more trying to win. This week was more trying to survive and just stay in the game and see if something good happened.”
But when Glover made an 11-footer for par on 17, he arrived on the 18th tee tied with Patrick Cantlay, who was already in the house at 15 under. If there was ever a time to stay cool, this was it, and Glover knew it. Spotting a plastic cooler by the tee box, Glover peered into it and plunged his hands into the icy water.
Curious move but also a crafty one.