How a well-placed cooler helped Lucas Glover win second title in two weeks
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 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.
“It’s a way to keep my hands from sweating,” Glover explained after the round. “If you leave them in there as long as you can stand it and then wipe them off real quick, it closes your pores up for 10, 15 minutes. So, I do that if there’s any water in the coolers when it’s like this, since I don’t wear a glove. It literally stops them from sweating for a little while.”
Glover’s tactics are backed by science. According to medical research, cold water constricts tissue in the hands, including sweat glands, and soaking hands in icy water for 30 minutes can prevent palm sweating for up to three hours.
Glover, it turned out, just needed to control his palm sweat for two more holes. After making par on 18, he and Cantlay advanced to a playoff, which Glover won on the first hole.
In his first 14 starts of 2023, Glover missed 10 cuts. In the depths of those struggles, he was asked Sunday evening, could he possibly have envisioned himself wining in consecutive weeks in August.
“I’d [have told you] you’re crazy,” he said. “But at the same time, if you asked me legitimately did I think I was capable, I’d say yes, even then. It’s just one of those sad ways athletes are wired. We always believe in ourselves no matter how bad it is.”
Or, it seems, how hot it is.