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May 13, 2019

Lucas Glover

Farmingdale, New York

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. I'd like to welcome you to the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. I'm really pleased to be joined by Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, and he captured that championship right here at Bethpage Black. Lucas, this is your 10th PGA Championship. Historically your best finish in a PGA also came in 2009. Maybe talk about that summer and how well you were playing and your recollections of what happened that weekend back here I guess 10 years ago now.

LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, sure. Weather was just like this, actually, for most of it. But no, obviously a strange week that week. It rained pretty good for three, four days. I didn't play much Thursday and played a bunch every day after that. It kind of runs together.

But obviously a great week, at a great place, great course, and I had a lot of fun doing it, minus the weird schedule. And then the PGA at Hazeltine that summer, I've said it ever since then, was almost kind of a -- it was gratifying for me because I got myself back into contention at another major, and it wasn't like, all right, that was just kind of a joke or a farce or whatever. So I wanted to use this as an opportunity to do that more, and I did it pretty soon. So that was a gratifying week for me at Hazeltine.

THE MODERATOR: Let's move to the present. Your game is really trending. You've played well, a bunch of top 15s this year. You must be feeling well about how you're playing coming into this major.

LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, yeah, feel good. Been working hard and playing well, and now trying to catch up on some rest. Trimmed a couple tournaments. But yeah, I had a good week of prep at home, and luckily I know what I need to work on to come here and play, so I was able to do that last week, and just played nine holes, and the golf course is perfect. Yeah, all good.

Q. Which nine did you play today?
LUCAS GLOVER: I played the front nine.

Q. So you didn't get to 18; are there any noticeable changes since 2009? I know 18 has been changed a little.
LUCAS GLOVER: I was told on the practice range there's a new tee on 12. I didn't see that in person. And then what you just said is the first I've heard of 18. I plan on playing all of them tomorrow. I didn't notice anything on the nine holes I did play.

Q. And is it playing pretty much the same as it did back then? Obviously the weather is the same.
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, ball isn't bouncing, obviously. I know you guys have been just pounded the last couple weeks and this weekend, but long and hard, that's what I remember. And then '16 I was here also and the ball was bouncing a little bit. But that's pretty familiar sound, I think, for the majors here, '02 and '09.

But yeah, the golf course is great. I love it. Just -- it's almost kind of fun when it is that soft because the ball just kind of goes where you hit it. You get extra rewarded for a good shot, and a bad shot is kind of still bad. So still fair.

Q. Lucas, a lot of people have said that the driver is going to be the key club in the bag this week. Do you see it that way, or with the speed of the greens, do you think that shot making can have a lot to do with it, as well?
LUCAS GLOVER: I think that's what makes this course so good is it's all of the above. You know, you've got to drive it good, and then there's enough, I'll call them position holes, where you've got to be in the right position off the tees, and there will be some 3-woods, 5-woods, and then the course is able to be set up in ways like we saw in '09 with No. 6 and No. 18. You can move the tees up and give guys options.

You do have to drive it really well around here, but you've got to iron it good, chip and putt good and all that stuff, and with it soft like this, and probably going to be soft the first few days, there will be a lot of long clubs in, so it will be a lot of advantage if you're striking your irons well, especially your long irons.

Q. It's been a long 10 years for you since winning here; I know it's a broad question, but last fall you were playing for your TOUR card. Can you kind of sum up the 10 years, the ups and downs of the game for you?
LUCAS GLOVER: I think it's just golf. I mean, to be honest, I don't think there's been anybody to play this game that hasn't been fried at one point or another. Last year was just kind of was what it was. I had some family stuff, I had an injury, and I played the Web finals as my rehab start, so it was a way to get better position to play my medical. I didn't have to go do that, I chose to go do that, just to see how my knee held up, and I could help myself, and it was the second time in the last few years I've played in those and accomplished the goal. To be fair, those four events in the fall, late summer, fall, whatever we want to call it, propelled me to have the fall I had. So I played well, and finally could tell myself I was healthy and what I was working on was the right stuff.

You know, leading up to that, it was a pretty -- I had a great year in '17, I guess. But leading up to that, it was pretty up and down and some lean times, but again, I don't know of anybody that's played this game for a long time that hasn't gone through some ups and downs. You know, one of those things you look back on, and you're going through something, like Brian Dawkins said in his Hall of Fame speech, you're going through something so you're going to come out on the other end, so that's the way I'm looking at the last few years is I've come out the other side. I haven't won, I haven't accomplished any of my goals, but I've come through it, and there's not much you can do that you don't get through.

Q. When did you come out of it on the other side? What marked the coming out of the other side of it to you?
LUCAS GLOVER: I think that other side is pretty long. But to get -- the main goal was to improve my status at the Web finals, and after that it was to take care of the medical. So doing that and playing the way I played in the fall and then having the winter I had, it was one of those, all right, put that stuff behind us and let's go try to get in position as much as we can and try to win another golf tournament. So I'd say the early fall and then that built the confidence to have the spring I had.

Q. Was there ever, in terms of your game, a low point? And if there was, what was it?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, I think -- I don't remember the year, but I don't think I made more than $50,000, $60,000, whatever the year. I can't remember the year. But I know that -- let's use perspective here, for TOUR players, that's one thing. For everyone else that's different. But as far as how we rank ourselves, that's a pretty low year. I don't want that to be -- I don't want that to be lost in my statement. I wasn't trying to sound anything other than how we're measured.

But that was a pretty lean year, pretty low year. There were mornings it was hard to get up and go practice. But I did it, and I feel like all that stuff enabled me to have the '17 I had and then the '18, '19, this wraparound thing, it all really runs together.

But the stuff you work on, the things you learn in the hard times make the good times better. I finished fourth at Honda, and to me that was like a big moment. I made two putts on the last couple holes, and to me right then that was a big thing because it tied me for the lead, and I hadn't done that in a long, long time. Thinking back to those '12, '13, '14 when it was really bad and still going out there and working, it kind of makes it worth it, but it's also easy to sit here and say that now, but I also have to realize it's easy to go back there, too. It's just golf.

Q. I'd like to ask you how often you've been back to Bethpage Black, and then just the accomplishment back in June of '09, you fended off three of the great players of that moment in time, Tiger, Phil, David Duval. What did that take, and how did you make that happen?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, how often I've been back, only times I've been here were for the events. '02 was my first major, and then '09 and then '16 Barclays. Those were the only times I've been able to be back here, and obviously this week.

But yeah, coming down the stretch I knew where I was. Walking to the 16th green, there was one of the little boards to the right, and I saw I was up one, and I had an eight- or nine-footer down the hill for birdie to go up two, and it wasn't one of those, I've got to make this one. It was, it would be a really, really nice to make this one type thing. It was a typical U.S. Open putt downhill and fast, and it was great because all I had to do was get it on line and it was going to get to the hole.

And then standing on 17, two pars was probably going to be good enough, and biggest thing I took from that personally was executing under that pressure. I was able to do that, and that was the best feeling after looking back on it was the execution on 17, left of the hole, so I didn't have to putt up and over that ridge under pressure. It's hard to get the ball to the hole, especially with a big ridge to go over. So I wanted to be left of that hole, and then I hit the two shots on 18 right where I needed to to get myself the best chance to make par and make somebody have to do something crazy to beat me.

Q. What clubs did you hit on 7 today? Did you hit any out of the rough, and how did it look? And thirdly, did you pack for this PGA differently? How much heavier is your suitcase for this PGA than previous ones?
LUCAS GLOVER: No. 7, we played the back tee. I hit driver in the right rough, and then I hit a 9-iron and then I hit an 8-iron, and I made a par. And then the rough, yes, I did. And I would say it's exactly what it looks like, thick, wet, just that sticky bluegrassy rye. It's spotty, though. Right of 1 was -- looked like you could play, and then up by the green, short and right, it was thick and sticky. It was spotty. It was what you'd expect coming into the growing season up here, to be honest.

And suitcase-wise, coming from home, it's pretty easy. You can bring what you need, and then I'm going home. So it wasn't too bad. More sweaters than I would have liked.

Q. There's a PGA professional that grew up maybe 30 miles from here, had a big impact on you when you were in your formative years. Can you speak to the association, what it's meant to you and what some of the specific members might have meant from those years through to today?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, sure. Obviously Dick Harmon, who you were talking about, and an assistant of his, Jamie Michala, who is a female, and she actually took the head job at the club I grew up playing. But coming to this championship and what those people meant to me for my golf, it wasn't as much for golf, it was how they handled themselves. And Dick was like a second or third father to me.

I still admire that more than anything he ever taught me was how he treated people, how he handled himself, and just how professional he was at the club when he'd come on TOUR and just when he'd speak to people. Jamie, she was the exact same way, always positive, always upbeat, treated everybody the same and with respect. So those two stick out for me, obviously.

And then the first person I saw this morning was Jack Druga, who's the head pro at Shinnecock, he's giving out range balls. That's pretty cool. That guy could probably cherry pick any gig he wanted, and he's out there giving out range balls and wiping them down. I just think it's so cool what they give and what they have given most of their lives to their members or their juniors or whatever.

Q. Can what you accomplished here in '09 help you in 2019 this year?
LUCAS GLOVER: Absolutely, absolutely. If I thought otherwise, I'd be selling myself short. Any experience you have, good or bad, you can make it a positive, and that's what I'm trying to do is just -- I'm in every way a different person than 10 years ago, but I can still lean on all of that. My golf swing is different, my putting stroke is different, my brain is different, everything is different. But at the same time, I still get comfortable when I walk into the clubhouse or drive through the gate or whatever. It's just that calming feeling. It's almost like how I imagine some guys feel driving down Magnolia Lane at Augusta that have had success there. It's just like an automatic deep breath, like I've done it here, let's see what we can do again.

Q. There's only two players in the field who have won a major championship here, yourself and Tiger Woods; how do you feel about that, and what else do you think you two have in common?
LUCAS GLOVER: That's probably about it. (Laughter.) That and we'll have 14 clubs in the bag this week, I guess.

No, that's pretty cool to have that. Like I said, I was here in '02, and didn't play the weekend but remember watching it, and obviously in '09. You know, that might be the only thing that anybody will ever use he and I's name in the same breath.

But any time you're lumped in with him. It's a pretty big honor. Pretty cool for sure.

Q. To follow up on that, what was it like on that Monday in '09 when you see Woods up on the leaderboard and you're leading? What's that dynamic like? And what did you feel when you saw him win the Masters this year?
LUCAS GLOVER: Sure. Well, it would be naïve to sit up here and say I didn't think he and Phil and those guys were going to make a run. That's just them, and it's golf, and they're the best, and that's why they're the best. They're going to make a run. And I knew it was coming. And sure enough, it did.

But like I said earlier, not to keep being repetitive, but that was the biggest thing for me was I executed under the gun with all that going on, knowing it was going on and knowing they were coming, and I held them off. It might not have been the prettiest, but it was when it had to be.

And as far as the Masters, I don't watch much golf if I'm home, but my wife and I took my oldest to a movie and recorded it and put our phones away because we wanted to watch it together, and I had no idea what happened when we watched it on the replay that afternoon. But I got a little teary-eyed, I'll be honest, that embrace with his kids, and then CBS being so smart to have that ready with he and his dad, that was pretty amazing.

I know what it meant to him just from reading it. I've never heard him say it, but reading it, I want my kids to see me. I want my kids to see the Tiger that's a winner and win a major, and that was pretty special. Pretty good for him, pretty good for his family, and amazing for golf.

Q. Your best round here was a 64. The weather is supposed to clear out. As the course dries up, do you think maybe we'll see a 63 or even a 62 on Sunday, or by Sunday?
LUCAS GLOVER: That would be hard to say. I don't know. I mean, there's so many factors that go into it, wind, how they set it up, all that stuff. Got 156 pretty darned good players, so if it's calm and stays soft, there's going to be some low numbers. I'm not going to say it's going to be a birdie-fest. But that's hard to predict. You know, I don't know. Probably should have just said that in the first place. I don't know.

THE MODERATOR: Lucas, thank you for indulging us in your memories, and we appreciate your time.

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