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Thoughts of Lucas Glover and Dick Harmon

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 August 2009.

You might ask if I was surprised to see Lucas Glover's name atop the leader board at the end of this year's U.S. Open in June. The answer would be no. That's simply because I knew his background, and I know how careful Dick Harmon was in feeding him information to develop him into a U.S. Open winner.

Most of you know that Dick was my best friend in the world, and that he tragically passed away in 2006. What some don't know is that Lucas was Dick's top student, and their relationship dates back to when Lucas was a junior golfer growing up in Greenville, S.C.

Dick was the head pro at River Oaks Country Club in Houston at the time. Lucas was referred to Dick by his grandfather and PGA Tour star Jay Haas, who was a member of Lucas' home club and had also been taught by Harmon. Haas knew first-hand about Dick's tremendous ability to mentor junior golfers. Lucas was fortunate to have a grandfather that loved him so much that he made sure he found a great golf teacher for his grandson at an early age.

Lucas came to Houston for three or four days at a time to work with Dick. Dick sometimes would travel to see Lucas in South Carolina.

As the summers went by, Lucas grew and became the player we knew he would become.

He signed with Clemson and had a great amateur career, including playing in the Walker Cup.

When I went to the Masters earlier this year, one of the disappointing things was that Lucas wasn't in the field. He didn't qualify. It also makes me sad to go there each year without Dick. If you've ever been around any of the Harmon brothers talking golf, you know that the Masters always comes up.

A few months later, I went to the U.S. Open at Bethpage. As luck would have it, the first person I saw was Lucas Glover. The first thing most tour players do when they get to town for a tournament, especially a major, is head to the grocery store to stock up the house they've rented for the week.

Well, when I pulled into the parking lot of the Shop Rite in Farmington, N.Y., there was Lucas and his beautiful wife, Jennifer. She greeted me, as always, with a warm hug and a kiss. Lucas gave me a warm hug, too. They're such a great couple.

My editor asked me to channel Dick from heaven and tell you what Dick would have said to Lucas before that fateful, final round of the U.S. Open. Here's how it would have happened.

"Hey, Meat," Dick would have said to his son, Rick, whom he always referred to as "Meat." "Run to the store and grab some steaks. We're going to keep the evening light and have some fun, because tomorrow is going to be something special."

They would have had dinner outside on a picnic table, and Dick would have kept the conversation light-hearted. One of Dick's greatest skills was to cut through the tension to keep things calm.

"Lucas," he would have said to his pupil and friend, "tomorrow just go out there and play golf. We've trained for this day...just keep it simple. It's going to be a long day, so be patient. You're going to do great."

Dick would tell some stories, and everyone would laugh. He wouldn't have to talk too much about the final round; everyone would know what was going on. What he would tell Lucas was, "You're not a college player anymore; you're a tour player. So dress accordingly."

Dick was always on Lucas about his wardrobe, and "dress accordingly" meant no undershirts.

They'd be organized in the morning. Lucas would get to the club when he was ready, hit some balls and warm up. Dick would then tell him to go out and have the time of his life.

Thanks in large part to Dick, Glover's body of work leading up to that final round put him into position to handle all the pressures of the day. Being a product of the Harmon clan, Lucas developed a keen sense for the game. He became tough because of the constant ribbing and poking at his abilities that came with the territory for anyone working with a Harmon.

During the round, Dick would have been right there, walking with Lucas every step of the way. He would have given Lucas comments of encouragement and kept him well-grounded in his fundamental beliefs in how to swing a golf club.

We all know what happened—Lucas won by outlasting Phil Mickelson, Ricky Barnes and David Duval. Once it was all over, Dick would have waited until the ground settled. Then he would have given Lucas a big hug, kiss and said, "Atta boy, Moose!"

Dick always called Lucas "Moose" and would tease him about his shoes. Lucas' foot size matched his age from 7 to 14. He probably has the biggest feet on tour. Dick always said, "Sweet shoes, Moose."

Prior to that final round, I ran into BraeBurn head pro Ken McDonald. I told him then that Lucas was going to win. He asked me how I could be so sure...I told him, "Dick's not going to let me get one up on him."

Now we both have major championship winners as students...but my guy, Angel Cabrera, has a Masters and a U.S. Open. So Dick still has some work to do. It will be fun watching Lucas continue to contend for championships.

I know Dick is looking down from heaven and smiling. I miss him every day, but watching his top student win the U.S. Open made his absence hurt just a little less.