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'09 U.S. Open champion Glover has enjoyed reign

At home near Greenville, S.C., a few days ago, Lucas Glover noticed something missing from his family room.

The U.S. Open trophy he won last June at Bethpage State Park on Long Island.

While he had been traveling, Glover's wife, Jennifer, had mailed the trophy back to the U.S. Golf Association per the organization's request. The reigning champion had forgotten to do it.

"I think they called and said they kinda needed it back," Glover said.

Glover had become so accustomed to glancing at the trophy, it jolted him to realize it was gone. He had shared it with friends at Sea Island, Ga., where he often practices, and he'd watched some of his Clemson buddies drink from the silver trophy during a golf team fund-raiser last December.

Mostly, he'd kept it at home, enjoying the sweet satisfaction of having won the U.S. Open, beating Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Hunter Mahan on a muddy, patience-testing beast of a course.

"It's been a good year," Glover said, taking a moment to look back during his preparation for the next U.S. Open which begins Thursday at Pebble Beach.

"It's hard to believe it's been a year, but I guess the reality set in when it was time to send the trophy back."

This time last year, Glover was looking for something to ignite his year. He'd played well in spots but hadn't had the breakthrough moment. He liked Bethpage based on what he remembered from the 2001 U.S. Open there, but no one put Glover's name on the list of pre-tournament favorites.

When he double-bogeyed the first hole in the first round, Glover could have melted. Instead, he told himself it's the U.S. Open, a place where double-bogeys live, and he had an entire tournament left to play.

"I had patience taught to me and I forced myself to believe it last year," he said. "Obviously, it helped me."

The longer the Open went last year, the better he got. Between the rain delays, Glover talked to the media about the books he was reading in his down time while maintaining his place near the top of the leader board.

When the tournament finally concluded on Monday, Glover hit the shot of his career, sticking an 8-iron shot eight feet from the hole to set up a birdie at the par-4 16th, giving him the separation he needed from the other challengers.

Suddenly, Glover was on "The Late Show With David Letterman," throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game in Yankee Stadium and being asked for his opinion on everything from the state of his game to running down the hill at a Clemson football game.

There were more requests, more opportunities and more demands. He took some and turned down others. He didn't let the victory change him or his life.

Asked if winning the Open caused him to change, Glover said, "Why would I?"

He repeated a story about what his friend Davis Love III told him shortly after his U.S. Open victory.

"He said 'you won playing like you, so don't change it,'" Glover said.

He hasn't.

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