Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey finally took off the gloves, albeit after shooting 60 in the final round, to put his hands around the trophy he won capturing the McGladrey Classic this weekend. It was the first PGA Tour victory for a guy who used get paid $8.25 an hour insulating hot water heaters and got his start winning the Golf Channel’s Big Break in 2007. He has earned around $3 million in winnings in his last two years on tour. Now that is a journey!
His phenomenal final round included eight birdies and an eagle to best by one tour veteran Daivd Toms who shot his own final round 63. Gainey left in his wake Davis Love III and Jim Furyk whom he trailed by 7 shots at the beginning of the day-both seemed to experience unexpected turbulence down the stretch on Sunday.
After shooting 31 on the outward nine Gainey birdied 11, 13, and 14. But it was his heroics on the par five 15th that slung him to the top. After hitting the green side bunker on this par five in two he lofted his bunker shot softly onto the fringe and let it trundle down to the hole where it obligingly fell in for eagle. One more birdie on 16 and a par on 17 made it seven straight threes on his card on the back nine on his way to the 16-under winning score.
As you can read in Farrell Evans’s article on ESPN.com, Tommy Two Gloves is just someone you want to root for. As he says, “In a sea of Iron Byron golf swings and marathon range sessions, Gainey stands out for his individuality and commitment to a life in the sport unencumbered by pressure to do everything prescribed by a mental coach, a physical trainer, and swing coach”. He marches to his own drummer and seems to be able to abide the cadence quite nicely.
Tommy fits into the mold of the old school stars like Palmer, Thorpe, Trevino, and Floyd whose swing mechanics defied the conventional logic but just knew how to put the ball in the hole. Farrell quotes the sage advice of Harvey Penick who once said to his college players, “If a guy with a bad swing and a bad grip is at your level, he is a very dangerous man to beat”.
With this victory and a two-year exemption we are assured to see Tommy Two Gloves regularly in the near future. No question, it will be fun to witness the next leg of this journey.