Lucas Glover hits his tee shot on the 11th hole...

Lucas Glover hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. Credit: AP/Matt York

GULLANE, Scotland — Lucas Glover is in a far better position than he was a year ago when he was fighting for job security, not any form of privilege.

What hasn't changed is the urgency.

Everyone knew it was going to be a sprint this year because the PGA Tour switched back to a calendar season. The starting line was in January, not the previous September. Only four tournaments remain before the top 70 move on to the FedEx Cup playoffs.

That's one reason Glover was among 28 players who went to the John Deere Classic before flying across six time zones to the Scottish Open this week at The Renaissance Club. Twelve of them — Glover included — are exempt for the British Open the following week at Royal Troon. For the others, this could be a long trip for one week, but they don't have much of a choice.

Every point matters. And that makes it seem as though every week matters.

Glover was No. 72 in the FedEx Cup going into the John Deere Classic after a season in which he felt like he was getting nothing out of his rounds.

“Very average, and that's what everything shows,” he said. Scores don't lie.

Lucas Glover tees off on the first hole during the...

Lucas Glover tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Cromwell, Conn. Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

His tie for 23rd in the John Deere Classic was enough to move up four spots. Baby steps, sure, but every point counts.

The trick is to be patient when it's hard to ignore how little time is left.

“It could be a shot or a putt that sends you in the right direction, or a shot that sends you the other direction. You never know when it's going to turn,” Glover said. "I've learned you can't chase it. You're not going to change something (technical) weekly. It's a bit of a process to work on what you know is right.

“We can all play this game,” he said. “You're never that far away. At this level, everybody is really good."

Jordan Spieth walks on the first green during the second...

Jordan Spieth walks on the first green during the second round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Cromwell, Conn. Credit: AP/Seth Wenig

He speaks from experience. Glover went to the John Deere Classic a year ago at No. 130 in the FedEx Cup, tied for sixth and moved up to No. 110. A month later, his trajectory changed.

He won the Wyndham Championship to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs at No. 49. And then he won the next week to start the postseason and moved all the way up to No. 4. He was a lock for the Tour Championship, with a reasonable shot at the $18 million FedEx Cup title.

But it came with a cost: Glover had nothing left in the tank. He had played six out of seven weeks to get into the postseason, and coming off back-to-back wins in summer heat, it was all he could do just to cross the finish line at East Lake.

"Last year was a prime example," he said. “Chicago, as good as I was playing, I literally was out of gas. I just couldn't do anything. The game wasn't any different, but I was zapped. I played all those weeks in a row to get in. Atlanta, same thing, even worse.”

That's the trap so many players might find themselves in now.

Eleven of those players who were at the John Deere Classic before going over to Scotland were between No. 50 and No. 70 in the FedEx Cup. One of them was Davis Thompson, who had the best week of his career to win by four shots.

Another was Jordan Spieth, who returned to the TPC Deere Run for the first time in nine years. Spieth showed up at No. 59 and dropped one spot after his tie for 26th (he would have fallen three spots had he not played).

Justin Rose chose British Open qualifying in the U.K. and it paid off for him. He fell one spot in the FedEx Cup to No. 76, but he added a major championship he wasn't assured of playing.

It's no longer about keeping a PGA Tour card. Anyone who started the year at Kapalua, who could plan to be at Riviera and Bay Hill and Memorial and all the other $20 million signature events, knows the value of finishing in the top 50.

Talk about a magic number.

Glover, 44, is fully exempt for two more years. What drives him is the top 50 to become eligible for the elite schedule. Go even further to the top 30 and players are virtually assured of playing all the majors plus the signature events.

A year ago, Glover wasn't eligible for a major for the first time since his rookie year in 2004.

That's why there's such a big push toward the end of the year.

Glover's plan was to play the John Deere Classic, Scottish Open and British Open and have two weeks off — there is no tournament Aug. 1-4 during the Olympics — before defending his title in the Wyndham Championship.

That means missing the 3M Open in Minnesota. That's the plan, anyway.

“If I have to, I'll go,” Glover said.

Justin Thomas felt that way last year. He missed the cut in the British Open — his fourth missed cut in six starts — and entered the 3M Open the following week to make up ground. He missed another cut and eventually came up one shot short of the postseason.

It's hard not to chase, because all it takes is one week.

Cam Davis was at No. 77 in the FedEx Cup and had played six out of seven weeks with only one finish in the top 40. And then he won the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

No one is ever that far off. The trouble is the finish line is right around the corner.

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