As the much-anticipated 2023 British Open Championship teed off, the golfing world buzzed with anticipation. Golf experts had various opinions on who would dominate the leaderboard at the last major of the year. Sportsbooks and betting agencies released their golf-winning odds, and golf enthusiasts shared their predictions on social media.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, and Scottie Scheffler were some names making rounds on the internet from the start. But there was one name no one knew or cared about—Brian Eric Harman. To be honest, it made sense too. What would someone expect from a 36-year-old who hadn't won anything since 2007? Nothing.
The 36-year old golf, however, expected a lot from himself. When the championship officially started on Friday, July 21, Brian Harman shocked the world by gaining a 5-stroke lead with a 5-under 67 on the first day. The second day came around, and while there were some slip-ups, Harman managed to hold his 5-shot lead- much to the audience's dismay.
It seemed like no one was on Harman's side except God himself because on Sunday, when the rain was pouring heavily, Brian stayed unpressured and played each shot at his own pace. He hit consecutive birdies, remained calm and won the Open Championship with a lead of 6-strokes. A win that made him the oldest first-time winner of a golf major—sounds legendary, right?
If you want to learn more about the legendary Champion Golfer Of The Year, keep reading. This article has everything you must know about Brian Harman.
Who is Brian Harman?
Brian Harman was born on January 19, 1987, to a dentist father and a chemist mother. At age 2, his family moved to a golf residential neighbourhood in Savannah, on Southbridge Golf Club. One would expect that being surrounded by golf made Harman develop a passion for the sport, but surprisingly that wasn't the case. In fact, as a young boy, he liked playing basketball and was good at it.
Brian's first exposure to golf was through television. He was flipping through channels and stumbled upon the live streaming of the Phoenix Open 1997. Everything, from men swinging clubs to golf balls flying through the air, urged him to watch the full tournament. The tournament soon ended but with its end started Brian’s wish to play golf like those men on t.v, especially Steve Jones—the winner of the Phoenix Open in 1997.
A week later, he began playing golf with a few boys from his neighbourhood. It was nothing too serious, but those silly games made Brian fall more in love with golf. He still played basketball on occasion, but most of his time went to golf, and by the age of 16, it became truly evident to him that his heart belonged to golf and nothing else.
Every day, he would go into his backyard and hit one golf ball after another until none were left. Seeing his love and passion for the sport, Brian's father got him a membership in the Southbridge Golf Club. Soon enough, Brian started to play competitive golf and did incredibly well in the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association).
Brian Harman had a very successful amateur golfing career. In 2003, he won the U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship, becoming the 3rd left-handed golfer to win the U.S. Golf Association event in its 108-year history. With this win, Brian also became the number 1 amateur golf player in the world.
Brian's second big success came in 2005 when he became the youngest player to compete in an American Walker Cup team. He got paired with Anthony Kim for foursome matches, and together they achieved a record of 2 wins, 0 losses, and 1 tie.
In 2007, Brian joined the University of Georgia golf team, and in the 2009 NCAA Championship came his legendary win against Oklahoma State University's No. 1 player, Rickie Fowler. Being the top-tier players of their respective universities, Brian and Fowler, both were under a lot of pressure to win the game and help their teams qualify for the semi-finals.
Up until the 14th hole, Fowler was leading by one point. On the 15th hole, Fowler finished with two putts, resulting in a par score. The situation was tough for Brian, and there was only one way for him to keep the match from slipping through his fingers—to make an eight-foot putt and tie the hole with Fowler. His shot went exactly as planned, and Fowler and his coach didn't take it well. While Brian was still retrieving the pin, they moved on to the next hole, making Brian feel disrespected and more pumped than ever to beat Rickie.
"Those last three holes, I don't know, something just got into me," Harman said. "I said, 'I'm ready to win this match now.'"
On the 16th hole, Fowler scored the birdie, and so did Harman. On the 17th hole, Harman successfully hit a birdie again, but Fowler's luck didn't work in his favour. The last hole came, and both the players had an equal chance to win the game. Harman again succeeded in hitting a birdie, and Fowler, with a 30-footer for a birdie, ended up missing the hole. This win helped Brian muster up all the courage he needed, and in the summer of 2009, he turned professional.
In 2010, Brian Harman spent most of his time competing on the EGolf Professional Tour, where he finished amongst the top ten players in 11 of the 14 matches he played. The same year, Harman enjoyed the very first victory of his professional career when he won the Manor Classic by three shots. Brian also played in three Nationwide Tour events in 2010, where his best performance came at the Stadion Athens Classic at UGA when he tied for the 18th position.
In 2011 Brian became a PGA tour member and played his first-ever PGA tournament—the Players Championship in 2012. He succeeded in making the cut on his debut tournament and finished T51. He later qualified for his first major, the 2012 U.S. Open, but failed to leave his mark.
In 2014, Harman played really well at the John Deere Classic, scoring 5 shots under par in the last round and winning his first-ever PGA tournament. With this win, he earned $847,000 in prize money and an exemption into the following week's Open Championship.
At the Barclays in August 2015, Harman hit two aces in the same round, becoming the first left-handed golfer, and third golfer in PGA Tour history to achieve that. In May 2017, Harman had his second PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he made a 28-foot putt on the 18th hole and beat Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by just one stroke. In the 2017 United States Open, Harman tied with Hideki Matsuyama for the second position.
Over the next few years, Brian did not perform all that well in the tournaments. In 2022, he finished second in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, four shots behind the winner, Russell Henley. This tournament can be called Brian's comeback event, as it was his best finish in the last five years.
The 2023 Open Championship was the next big thing for the left-handed American golfer. Not being able to win anything since 2017, Brian was not on anyone's list of top contenders. Noone in their wildest dreams had thought that the 36-year-old would be able to bag the Claret Jug. But with his strong will and determination to make a name for himself again, Harman scored 65 on Friday, July 21, and managed to stay on top of the leaderboard throughout the tournament.
On Sunday, July 23, Harman did not have a great start. He hit a few bogeys and saw his lead cut to two strokes, just five holes into his third round. Soon afterwards, Harman managed to reestablish his lead by scoring birdies on the 6th and 7th holes.
Harman again hit birdies on the 14th and 15th holes, finishing the final round with a score of 1-under 70. As a result, he won the tournament, and Sepp Straka, Jon Rahm, Tom Kim, and Jason Day tied for second place.
Brian Harman Official World Golf Ranking:
An impressive victory in the 2023 British Open boosted Brian Harman's position in the official world golf ranking list. With the winning odds of 150-1, Brian headed into the Open Championship at Hoylake with a 26th rank on the OWGR. At the end of the tournament on Sunday, July 23, he jumped to the 10th position, which is the highest he's ever secured.
Brian Harman U.S Team Ranking For Ryder Cup 2023:
After becoming The Champion Golfer of the Year, Brian Harman moved up 17 ranks and is currently number 3 on the Ryder Cup Standings for team U.S. He has also earned a spot on the team and will be playing with other top golfers in the upcoming Ryder Cup.
Incredible Benefits Brian Harman Gets For Winning The 2023 British Open:
Winning the oldest and most prestigious men's golf tournament is every golfer's biggest dream. It not only gives a sense of achievement but also brings popularity and a whole lot of perks. Now that Harman has his name carved into golfing history forever, it is time for him to enjoy all the fame and perks that come with it. Want to know what those benefits are? Keep on reading to find out.
Claret Jug: Lifting the Claret Jug is considered a crowning achievement in a golfer's career. On Sunday, July 23, Brian Harman had the honour of lifting and taking home the Claret Jug. Soon his name will also get engraved into the original trophy, making him an undying part of golf's rich and long history.
Golf Medal: Since 1872, every British Open champion has been awarded a gold medal. Being the winner of the 151st tournament, Brian Harman was also rewarded with a shining gold medal in the closing ceremony.
Prize Money: The total prize purse for the 2023 British Open was £12.83 million, out of which Brian Harman was awarded £2.33 million. When asked what he plans to do after becoming £2.33m richer, the 37-year-old said he will celebrate his victory by mowing his 40-acre land with a newly bought tractor.
Ryder Cup Debut: On Friday, July 21, a reporter asked whether Brian thought he could qualify for the upcoming Ryder Team Cup. In response, the American golfer said, "I've spent I don't know how many years chasing... it always seems it's right there at the end, and I end up in between 13th and 18th on the list, and I'm hoping for a pick. It would mean the world to me to play on the Ryder Cup team. I think I will do very well."
On Sunday, July 23, Brian won the 2023 Open Champion and secured 6000 Ryder Cup points, which pushed him up to the third position on the table and helped him qualify for his first-ever Ryder Cup. In short, Brian's dream of playing in the Ryder Cup will become a reality very soon.
- Exemptions From Various Tournaments: One of the biggest perks of winning the Open Championship is an exemption from various tournaments. Brian Harman has an exemption into the British Open until 2047. The victory has also earned him a 5-year exemption into other PGA major tournaments, including the Masters, the U.S. Open, and PGA Championship. Not to forget the 5-year exemption into the Players Championship.
Interesting Facts You Must Know About Brian Harman:
- Brian plays golf left-handed but does everything else with his right hand.
- He loves to go on hunts in his spare time and learned to skin a deer at the age of 8. After his stunning performance at the 151st British Open, the English press nicknamed him, "The Butcher of Hoylake," which reflects his love for hunting.
- With a height of 5 foot 7, Harman is one of the shortest golfers in PGA Tour members' history.
- Brian Harman is not a fan of social media. In his twelve years of professional career, he's only posted 61 pictures on Instagram and has fewer than 40 thousand followers. On Twitter, it's even quieter. Brian hasn't tweeted anything for the last three years.
- Harman was part of the winning teams at the 2005 and 2009 Walker Cup and 2007 Palmer Cup.
- Brian's family is not big on golf. His father and younger brother are dentists and only watch golf when Harman plays.
Brian Harman's win at the 2023 Open Championship is a true example of resilience and strong will. Being in the shadows for years did not break Harman. While no one else believed in him, Harman was confident he had what it takes to win a major golf championship. The Butcher Of Hoylake never lost hope or thought about quitting the game.