Ahead of the start of the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club this Friday, we have decided to profile the eight rookies from both teams. The final rookie from team USA is the man who became known as the ‘Butcher of Hoylake’ after his unlikely Open Championship victory. The hunting enthusiast hopes that he can take that killer instinct onto the golf course in Rome and help his team to victory.
Name: Brian Harman
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
Known for his straight hitting, massive putter and striking resemblance to former Australia cricket captain Ricky Pointing, Brian Harman announced himself on the Ryder Cup radar with a runaway victory at the Open Championship. Harman shot a second round six-under-par 65 at Royal Liverpool and he never looked back, winning the Claret Jug by six shots. With his first major in the bag and his first win in six years, Harman all but sealed his place on the US Ryder Cup team for Rome.
Harman attended the University of Georgia where he played for the golf team and the left-hander was a three-time, second team All American, winning the 2005 NCAA Preview and the 2006 Isleworth Invitational. Known as a smart golfer, he had brains off the course as well, winning the yearly award for the highest Grade Point Average three times. Harman’s amateur career was highly decorated, with wins at the 2003 US Junior Amateur, the 2005 Players Amateur and the 2007 Porter Cup where he shot a tournament record 22-under-par.
Harman is no stranger to success in team golf. In 2005 he was the youngest player in Walker Cup history playing on the winning US team and in 2007 he would play on a winning Palmer Cup team before playing in his second Walker Cup in 2009.
Harman turned professional in 2010, earning 11 top tens in 14 starts on the EGolf professional tour including a win at the Manor Classic. He also played in three Nationwide Tour events, which is now the Korn Ferry Tour, with his best finish being a tie for 18th. Harman qualified for his first major at the 2012 US Open and two years later he won his first PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic, winning by one shot over his Ryder Cup captain, Zach Johnson.
Harman made history on August 30th 2015 at the Barclay’s Championship in New Jersey, becoming the first player in PGA Tour history to have two aces in the same round. In May 2017, Harman won the Wells Fargo Championship at Eagle Point Golf Club, holing a 28 foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by one shot.
Harman held the 54 hole lead at the US open at Erin Hills but ended up finishing in second place, four strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka. It would take Harman five years to record another finish as high as second and when the 2023 Open Championship rolled around, few people predicted what would unfold at Royal Liverpool in July 2023.
Harman won the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool by six strokes for his first major championship title, becoming only the third left-handed Open champion after Bob Charles and Phil Mickelson, and fifth left-handed major champion after Charles, Mickelson, Mike Weir and Bubba Watson. Harman took control of the championship in the second round, carding a 65 that beat the field scoring average by more than eight strokes. He maintained a five-shot lead going into the final round before ultimately winning The Open by six and stamping his ticket to the Ryder Cup in Rome via automatic qualification.