Profile: Harman a rookie focused on the long run

By May 22, 2012, 3:14 pm

Brian Harman is not a self-promoter. He wants his golf game to do all the talking.

'I'm not going to wear crazy clothes, probably not going to have my own website,' Harman said last week. 'I play golf because I want to contend in and win golf tournaments. That's where I get my gratification. If I get a bunch of fans doing that, then that would be awesome.'

The left-handed rookie from Georgia may be able to have his cake and eat it, too. Harman is enjoying a solid campaign on the PGA Tour, earning $473,018 in 14 starts. The 25-year-old is living the dream which spawned near Savannah, Ga., in the late 90s in the Southbridge neighborhood.

'I started playing golf with some of the kids around the neighborhood, kind of after school, just messing around,' he said. 'I fell in love with the game.'

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Harman's parents and his brother didn't play golf, but they realized their son's southpaw tendency on the baseball diamond.

'They got me a right-handed baseball glove so I could throw left-handed,' he said. 'Every time they threw me the ball, I'd catch it right the glove in my right hand, then take the glove off and throw it back to them.'

Golf is the only thing he does as a lefty, but Harman said he can hit it 'pretty good' from the other side.

As a teen, Harman had the golf bug. He subscribed to magazines so that could learn about tournament golf. Eventually, he convinced his mom to take him to a nine-hole tournament on St. Simons Island. Harman shot 34 and won by six shots. 

After high school, Harman went to the University of Georgia in Athens. Friends warned him the school had not been producing many PGA Tour players.

'That was just kind of the knock on the program,' he said. 'We didn't have guys on the PGA Tour. Then I get to school and we're winning tournaments, and the guys that were on our team are good golfers. It got me thinking. How good do you have to be to play on the PGA Tour? Is it that hard?'

Today, four of the five starters from Harman's freshman year are on the PGA Tour. Harman credits coach Chris Haack for building a program with guys like him, Harris English, Russell Henley and others. 

Harman's path to the PGA Tour, however, was not a straight line. 

'I definitely had more confidence that I was going to make it when I was 13 or 14 than I did a couple of years ago,' he said. 'It's a tough gig to break into, that's for sure.'

He spent two years on the eGolf Pro Tour, contending frequently but winning just once in a playoff against fellow PGA Tour rookie Jason Kokrak and former roommate Drew Weaver.  

Last December, Harman finished T-8 at Q-School to earn his PGA Tour card. With that path from mini-tours to the show soon requiring a detour through the Nationwide Tour, Harman is glad to be among the last of a dying breed.

'Think of all the things that can happen to someone,' he said. 'You might wake up tomorrow and you can't play golf anymore. You might get in a car wreck.'

The fleeting nature of success is what keeps drives him to maintain his PGA Tour lot.

'To be honest, I still have the eGolf Tour website on my phone, just to keep me as humble as possible,' he said. 'I try not to ever take it for granted because you don't know how long it's going to be here.'

At No. 99 on the money list, Harman is either on the cusp of locking up status for 2013 or a bad spell away from a return to Q-School. Having thrust himself onto the Tour in rather sudden fashion, it's hard for Harman not to worry on a shot-by-shot basis.

'That's the first reaction you have, the first time things start going bad - 'Oh, I better start playing better or I'm not going to have a job next year',' he said. 

Harman is working hard to make the transition from to having a dream job to holding a steady career. His desire to win this season makes that task difficult.

'My expectations are probably too high,' he said. 'I get down on myself really easily. The guys that get out there and make a lot of money are the guys who know how to manage their emotions.'

Rather than ride the highs of low rounds like the second-round 61 at the Honda Classic or the 64 to open at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Harman knows the key is maintaining calm without his best stuff.

“They tell you that 80 or 90 percent of your money is made in three or four weeks,” he said. “It just goes to show you, you've got to play well when you're playing well and figure out how to play well when you're not. Other than the freaks out there – Tiger and Phil, they're just good all the time.”

Instead of living and dying with each shot, Harman is working to improve for the long-term.

“The more you see the big picture and look at your golf game as a career, not tournament-by-tournament, the better,” he said,  “Whatever happens from there, happens. If it works out, then great. If it doesn't, try again.”

Harman’s recently revised vision of an ideal woman demonstrates his ability to see well into the future. Jessica Biel has replaced Megan Fox in his dream foursome. At 5-foot-7, Harman expresses pragmatism in wanting a taller woman – even if only by an inch.

'I'm a short guy,' he said, 'so I figure I got to find me a tall girl to give my kids a fighting chance.' 

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.