American Brian Harman produced a stunning six-shot victory to lift his maiden major title at the Open Championship, the year’s final men’s major, at Royal Liverpool. In capturing his third PGA Tour win, the 36-year-old became only the fifth left-hander to triumph in a major championship and he achieved the feat in style by outclassing a world-class field with some terrific golf over the weekend, which was played under treacherous links weather.

[PHOTOS: Getty Images]

I’m over the moon. It’s pretty surreal and it really hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s really cool to hold the claret jug and I’m not going to let it out of my sight for the time being for sure. It was a tough last three days, it really was. Being able to get some sleep was big on Saturday night and sleeping on a five-shot lead is really difficult, so I was glad with how I hung in there over the last couple of days. I got off to bad starts on both days and managed to turn it around, so I’m really happy with how I handled that. 

There were some fleeting thoughts throughout the final day about winning, but I just told myself I wasn’t going to let any of that come into my brain. So any time it came, I just thought of something else. I really honestly didn’t think about winning until I had the ball on the green on 18 with a six-shot lead.

You know, I’ve always had a self-belief I could do something like this. It’s just when it takes so much time, it’s hard not to let your mind falter, like maybe think I’m not going to win again. I’m 36 years old and the game is getting younger. All these guys coming out, they hit it a mile and they’re all ready to win. 

I sometimes wondered when is it going to be my turn again as my last win was back in 2017. It’s been hard to deal with sometimes. I think someone had mentioned I’ve had more top 10s than anyone else since 2017, so that’s a lot of times where you get done at a tournament, and you’re thinking, I had a chance, and it just didn’t happen for whatever reason. So to come here and put on a performance like this, and to be in full control over the weekend, I’m very thankful it happened for me.

After I made my second bogey on Saturday, a fan, when I was passing him, said, “Harman, you don’t have the stones for this.” That really helped a lot! It helped snap me back into thinking I’m good enough to do this and I’m going to do this! I just told myself to go through my process, and the next shot is going to be good. It was the resilience of knowing at some point I was going to hit bad shots. And with the weather and the scenario, you’re going to hit bad shots. I knew that the way I responded to that would determine whether I’d be here with the claret jug.

Winning this will allow me the privilege of coming back to The Open for a really long time and I look forward to that. Growing up in Georgia and obviously being a huge fan of golf, I’ve always watched the Open Championship. We would wake up early and watch it on TV, and I never knew how much I’d appreciate it until the first time I came over to play in 2014. I just didn’t know what to expect. You grow up in Georgia, it’s all the Masters. But I came here and I was like, Wow, man, this is unbelievable. The fans are incredible and everyone understands golf over here. It was just a delight to play. I’m stoked to be able to come back here for a long time.

The first few trips over, I missed four cuts, I think, all by one. I played some OK golf, so it wasn’t like I was over here hacking it to pieces, I just couldn’t quite get comfortable, and I felt like maybe I rushed through it too much. Then last year, I finally felt like if I would have played a little bit better the first couple days, I could have been right there. I was excited to come back here this year. I think coming over for the [Genesis] Scottish [Open] helped a lot in getting ready and putting all my eggs in the basket of playing well here.

Whenever we come over to The Open, the weather is always going to be challenging. Saturday was supposed to be terrible, and I got out and it was fantastic weather, all things considered. Then in the final round, I’m looking at the forecast, and it’s Armageddon. It was bad and really tough. I haven’t historically done very well in the rain and it’s always bugged me. Hence, I was really proud of the way that I struck the ball in the rain to post a one-under 70 in the final round.

A few weeks ago, I found this silly looking mirror-like gadget where it’s got like a little better release pattern. I was kind of ‘cutting’ my putts too much. I spent a lot of time just feeling the ball, almost hitting like a baby draw with my putter, and it’s been really, really good the past month or so. I picked up this gadget on the putting green at a tournament some years back. I have not been putting very good this year until last month or so, but I found that device in my barn back home and it made sense, and I started putting well with it. I brought it out with me to Royal Liverpool.

With all that’s happened, I don’t see how winning is going to change me. I’ll be in some better tee times going forward and I’ll have to do a couple more interviews at golf tournaments. But I’ve got a great family, I’ve got hobbies that I really like and I have a very comfortable life that I enjoy. I wouldn’t want my life to change one bit at all.

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