With a dominant performance, Brian Harman has broken through. Harman, 36, won the British Open Sunday at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England by six strokes in one of the most commanding performances in the history of the championship.
He shot a 1-under par 70 on a soggy Sunday to close out his weekend and finish 13-under par for the tournament.
Harman, the No. 26 player in the World Golf Rankings, had entered Sunday with only two career victories on the PGA Tour, none of which had come this season.
In fact, his last victory had been 2,258 days previous, at the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship. He had five Top 10 finishes this year.
Harman entered Sunday with a five-stroke lead but was shaky at the start, bogeying two of his first five holes. The struggles would be short-lived. He quickly steadied, relying on sure putting on Nos. 6 and 7 to convert consecutive birdies that maintained his lead.
From that point on, as trailing players struggled simply to keep pace, Harman played with confidence and control, rarely mishitting shots despite the soggy conditions at Royal Liverpool.
He almost didn’t come, deterred by travel restrictions and perceived hypocrisy. He ultimately did thanks to a bit of carpe diem and a creeping sense of career mortality. Judging by his Thursday performance, Brian Harman is glad he came.
Brian Harman skipped football practice one day when he was 11 years old.
His mother, Nancy, drove him from their home in Savannah, Georgia, to Sea Island, Georgia, where he took an hour-long lesson from Jack Lumpkin, a fixture on every list of top golf instructors.
Growing up on a golf course, Harman had picked up the game on his own and showed raw potential, but he wanted to find out what one of the best teachers thought of his ability.
Harman passed his biggest test on Sunday, enduring a typical English summer day of a steady rain and a rocky start to shoot 1-under 70 at Royal Liverpool and win the 151st British Open by six strokes over Tom Kim (67), Sepp Straka (69), Jason Day (69) and Jon Rahm (70).
Harman led the field in putting, led all players on fairways hit and found only two bunkers through the entire championship — something that had confounded his competitors throughout the weekend — fewest of any player in the tournament.
Even when he did trip up, he responded with ease; after bogeying the par-3 No. 13, Harman answered with a pair of birdies on 14 and 15.
Harman played at his pace and didn’t rush his shots and appeared to be locked in throughout the round, rarely seen on the broadcast speaking to anyone but his caddy. He drove with precision and relied on a steady putter to lower his score.
At 5-feet-7, Harman is one of the shorter players on Tour, but it hasn’t stopped him from beating competitors that are bigger and stronger. All his life he’s been told he’s too small, but Harman’s never paid attention.
Instead, it served as motivation to prove them wrong. Asked once how long he’s played with a chip on his shoulder, Harman, said, I think since my dad dropped me off at football practice and told me to not be disappointed if I didn’t get to play at all. I played a lot.
The final two majors of the men’s golf calendar have now produced a pair of first-time major champions in Harman and U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark, who won at Los Angeles Country Club in June.
Shoco Golf / ABC Flash Point News 2023.