clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 U.S. Open: Brian Harman doesn’t care if you think he can win on Sunday at Erin Hills

Too short. Doesn’t hit it far enough. That’s what the 30-year-old Georgia boy’s always heard.

Brian Harman isn’t supposed to hit it far enough to compete at Erin Hills. Or so he’s been told. He’s too short, too small. As he walks to the first tee box as the leader of the 117th U.S. Open on Sunday afternoon, they’ll come up with more reasons as to why he can’t get it done at the end of the day. Too small. Too short. Too windy for a guy who can’t carry it as far as Justin Thomas or Brooks Koepka. Not enough experience in major championships. Brian Harman doesn’t have a chance, they’ll say.

Heck, I’m guilty of this myself. Just yesterday I brushed Harman’s chances aside as we rolled into the weekend. I was wrong. Just as Brian Harman would prefer.

That’s be most of Harman’s life — especially his career in golf. At a diminutive 5’7 and far from one of the tour’s biggest hitters, Harman’s perhaps best known as one of the Tour’s more self-confident players, carrying a chip on his shoulder the size of Georgia. You’d end up that way too if such a chasm existed between your life’s work and the perception of it.

Despite his size, Harman’s been a star since his amateur days. He’s won a USGA championship before, 14 years ago at the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur. He played on two Walker Cup teams. He was an All-American at Georgia. And if you’d think the 30-year-old Savannah native might be intimidated by the big stage on Sunday afternoon, consider: Harman’s already beaten Rickie Fowler head-to-head once. Even made him cry.

After making an eight-foot putt for par to stay 1 down on the 15th hole in the deciding match of the Georgia-OSU quarterfinal tilt, Bulldog senior Brian Harman looked up to see that Fowler had already walked off to the 16th tee, leaving him to fetch the flag. It infuriated Harman, and he played the rest of the match in a cold rage, making three straight birdies to win 1 up on the 18th hole. The loss left Fowler in tears -- it was his last performance as a college golfer.

That’ll be the attitude Harman takes into his round on Sunday. On a day when the throngs of Wisconsin fans at Erin Hills will throw their weight behind fan-favorite Fowler, the record-setting Justin Thomas, and the American dynamo Patrick Reed, Harman might just feel that chip — something that he’s always carried with him.

“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.”

If you knew Brian Harman, you could guess how that ended up.

“I played a lot.”

That kind of chip surely fueled him earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he picked up the biggest win of his career. With the world watching Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, Harman snaked in a winner on the 72nd hole to steal the spotlight — and the win.

Don’t be surprised if we see more of that on Sunday.