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With Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Tiger Woods in the hunt, a Lucas Glover victory was not the show fans came to see at the U.S. Open

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — When it was over, when all of the famous names had fallen away, when all of the cheering for all of the others had ended, Lucas Glover finally looked as if he had no idea what to do.

Other golfers would dance. Other golfers would shadowbox. Other golfers would flop around in a sandtrap and howl at the sun.

Glover? He calmly reached into the cup and pulled out his golf ball, as if he had another 72 holes to play.

He raised his arms, quickly, then pulled them down again. He embraced Danny Cooper, his caddie. He began to walk toward his wife, Jennifer. And then he did the darndest thing.

He stopped and glanced at the leaderboard.

You know, just to be sure.

41"What do I know about celebrating?" he said later. "I've only had to do it once. I don't know what I'm doing. Besides, I've never been much of a fist-pumper."

At the conclusion of the Lucas Glover Show, how much fist-pumping is in order? This is what the U.S. Open came down to Monday afternoon, Glover taming a field of predators in front of fans who, frankly, were pulling for the predators.

Let's face it: When Glover knocked home his final putt, the applause was polite, but it was not effusive. It was the muted applause you save for the children of other parents at the school play. Frankly, it's hard to blame the fans, because this is not the show they came to see.

Judging from the applause, the gallery would have much preferred that movie-of-the-week called the Phil and Amy Mickelson Story. And for a while, Mickelson looked as if he would be ready to star. He birdied No. 9, he birdied 12 and he eagled 13, and suddenly, he was tied with Glover.

Down the stretch, however, Mickelson faded. Finishing second has left Lefty with some bruises over the years, but not this time. This time, he seemed to keep his finish in perspective. After all, his wife, Amy, has surgery scheduled for breast cancer July 1.

Of course, the David Duval Show would have been nice television, too. Think of it as a magic show, of Duval reappearing six years after being trapped in a golf locker. Move over, Criss Angel.

Or how about another Tiger Woods Variety Special? It's hard to believe from watching him play, but Woods wasn't that far from pulling off a comeback from 15 strokes down. But Woods couldn't make a putt, and as a result, he could never overcome the four strokes he lost on the final four holes of his opening round. Still, he finished tied for sixth.

Any of those stories, fans would have remembered for a lifetime. Instead, they got the story of a man who once left the tour because it was driving him crazy.

As stories go, that's not a bad one, either.

There is something to be said for perseverance. There is something to be said for hanging in when three shots have slipped away and when the roars for your competitors sound like cannonfire around you. There is something to be said for swallowing back the pressure and living up to the ability.

"I held it together," Glover said in that Southern-fried accent of his. "That's important. The patience thing I've been preaching all week, it paid off. I could have gotten upset with myself after (bogey at) 9. But I was patient. I made the turn and said, 'All right, put a good nine holes together and see where we stand.' "

Where he stands is on top of the nation. Glover has made a lot of money on tour, and he has had some good finishes. But he had won only one tournament before this one, and his reputation was as something of an underachiever.

Perhaps that's why Glover was driving himself crazy last year, so crazy that he finally packed it up and got away from the tour for the better part of two months. He spent time with his wife, traveled, fished. And, somehow, he rediscovered himself.

"It was the best thing career-wise I've ever done," he said. "I was not playing well enough to keep playing and feel like I could be happy on the golf course. I was taking it home, and I wasn't myself.

"When I finally realized it, I said, 'That's it. When I get to this number, I'm done.' And I did. It was important, because when I started practicing again, my expectations were lower and I had something set to work on. But that was huge. Two years ago, if what happened on 6, 7 or 8 had happened, there is no chance I would be sitting here. No chance."

So who is Lucas? He's a Clemson golfer with a South Carolina caddie. He loves Frank Sinatra, the Yankees and murder mysteries.

"He's funny, serious, determined," Cooper said. "He's a very smart man. He can do a crossword puzzle in the time it takes me to brush my teeth."

All of that, and he can't figure out a proper victory celebration?

Somehow, you get the feeling he will get another chance. Maybe next time, the crowd will appreciate it more.

With Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Tiger Woods in the hunt, a Lucas Glover victory was not the show fans came to see at the U.S. Open 06/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:28pm]
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