By TOM LaMARRE
This might sound strange, but can anybody beat Lucas Glover?
The 43-year-old Glover (pictured) has beaten everybody the last two weeks in the Wyndham Championship and the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the PGA Tour playoffs opener, and he will be going for three in a row starting Thursday in the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club just outside of Chicago.
Only the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup point standings are eligible, and Glover, who didn’t seem to have a prayer two weeks ago has climbed to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings behind leader Jon Rahm of Spain, top-ranked Scottie Scheffler and third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.
“If you would have told me three months ago that this was going to happen, I would have told you that you were crazy,” said Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who has six of his nine pro victories on the PGA Tour, but hadn’t won since the 2021 John Deere Classic.
“But at the same time, if you asked me legitimately did I think I was capable, I would have said, ‘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. I never gave that up, but like in the middle of May, it was hard to go to the range some days and hard to work. But we pushed through and did it anyway.”
However, rather than three victories in a row, Glover has something else on his mind that he would like to happen.
Glover has never played in the Ryder Cup and would love to be on the United States team for the 44th Ryder Cup matches from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, Italy, near Rome.
“I started thinking about the Ryder Cup about 15 minutes ago,” Glover told reporters after winning on Sunday. “I’ve never made it and I want to. I’m playing pretty good golf and would be a good partner. So yeah, absolutely I would.”
Two weeks ago, Glover stood 64th in the United States Ryder Cup standings, but climbed to No. 35 by winning the Wyndham Championship and has made it up to No. 16 after capturing the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Glover probably has put himself on the short list of Captain’s Picks for United States Captain Zach Johnson, he probably could do more to strengthen his case this week with another strong performance in the BMW Championship.
But first things first.
Glover defeated fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA on the first playoff hole to win the FedEx St. Jude Championship, and if he’s near the top of the leaderboard again this week he might also have to deal with Cantlay.
That’s because Cantlay, who is No. 5 in the FedEx Cup point standings, has won the BMW Championship each of the last two seasons among his eight victories on the PGA Tour.
“I’m in a good spot with two big weeks coming up in the playoffs, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Cantlay, the 2021 FedEx Cup champion. “I’m obviously playing really well, and this is a golf course that I really enjoy.
“Going into the finale with the way the Tour Championship is set up now, it’s really important to be up there as close as you can be to No. 1. I’m happy to put myself in a good spot and hopefully improve on that spot this week.”
Cantlay probably wouldn’t mind a rematch with Glover, either, as he goes for his own three-peat.
1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland—Rory tied for third in the FedEx St. Jude, his eighth straight finish in the top 10, including a victory in the Genesis Scottish Open, ranks second in the world and is third in the FedEx Cup standings. McIlroy, a three-time FedEx Cup champion claimed one of his 24 victories in the 2012 BMW, one of his six top-10 finishes in the event.
2. Scottie Scheffler, United States—The top-ranked player in the world, who also is No. 2 in the FedEx Cup point standings, had his putter go cold on the weekend in the FedEx St. Jude Championship and he tied for 31st. That was Scheffler’s first finish outside the top 25 in his last 20 tournaments. He should bounce back in the BMW, in which he tied for third last season.
3. Patrick Cantlay, United States—The fourth-ranked Cantlay lost the FedEx St. Jude to Lucas Glover in a playoff when his tee shot barely found the water, but the BMW Championship might be his favorite event because he won it the last two years and finished second in 2019. After winning five times in the last two years, he is winless this season but has 13 results in the top 25.
4. Jon Rahm, Spain—The third-ranked player in the world didn’t play well last week, but still leads the FedEx Cup standings. Rahm has won four times this season, including the Masters, and tied for second in the 151st Open, among 10 results ion the top 10, but tied for 37th in the FedEx St. Jude. He claimed one of his 11 PGA Tour victories in the 2019 BMW among five top-10s.
5. Viktor Hovland, Norway—The fifth-ranked Hovland got the news this week that he has made the European team for the Ryder Cup, no big surprise since he has 16 finishes in the top 25 including two victories, since late last year. He is seventh in the FedEx Cup point standings, but his best finish in three starts in the BMW Championship was a tie for 17th two seasons ago.
6. Tommy Fleetwood, England—By tying for third in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Fleetwood climbed to 10 in the point standings, and that came after he tied for 10th in the 151st Open and tied for sixth in the Genesis Scottish Open, tied for fifth in the U.S. Open and lost in a playoff at the RBC Canadian Open to give him seven top-10s. Tied for eighth in the 2018 BMW.
7. Lucas Glover, United States—The hottest golfer in the world with two straight victories in the Wyndham and the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Glover has risen to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup point standings. He also tied for fourth in the Rocket Mortgage, was solo fifth in the Barbasol and tied for sixth in the John Deere. His best finish in the BMW was a tie for seventh in 2019.
8. Max Homa, United States—The seventh-ranked Homa, who won the Fortinet and Farmers early this year, is No. 6 in the FedEx Cup point standings after recording 15 results in the top 25 on the PGA Tour this season, including a tie for sixth in the FedEx St. Jude and a tie for 10th in the 151st Open in his last two starts. His best in five BMW starts was a tie for 23rd last year.
9. Xander Schauffele, United States—The sixth-ranked Schauffele won three times last season to give him seven PGA Tour career victories, but a back injury early this season cost him time, though he still has recorded 16 results in the top 25 without winning again. He is playing in the BMW Championship for the seventh time and he tied for third in 2018 and again last year.
10. Tyrrell Hatton, England—The 10-time winner as a pro, including in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational, finished second in the Players Championship in March, one of his 13 results in the top 25 this season. He tied for sixth in the Genesis Scottish Open and tied for 20th in the 151st Open recently. His best results in three starts in the BMW was a tie for 16th three years ago.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jordan Spieth, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Rickie Fowler, United States; Tom Kim, South Korea; Wyndham Clark, United States; Tony Finau, United States; Sungjae Im, South Korea; Jason Day, Australia; Matt Fitzpatrick, England; Corey Conners, Canada.
1. Kurt Kitayama, United States—Claimed his fourth victory as a pro in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished second in CJ Cup this season. Placed T-19 in BMW debut last year.
2. Seamus Power, Ireland—Collected his seventh pro victory this season in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and was T-3 at Mayakoba. Was solo 65th in BMW debut last season.
3. Andrew Putnam, United States—Three-time winner as a pro finished T-2 in Zozo, T-4 in Sony and T-5 in the Memorial this season. Best result in three BMW starts was T-23 last year.
4. Adam Svensson, Canada—Has won four times as a pro, including the 2022 RSM Classic, while finishing T-7 in Wyndham and T-9 in the Genesis. Making BMW Championship debut.
5. Patrick Rodgers, United States—Tied Tiger Woods’ record of 11 victories at Stanford, but has only a Korn Ferry Tour win as a pro, twice losing PGA Tour playoffs. Making BMW debut.
For first-round tee times and the FedEx Cup point standings, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard