WITB: Brian Harman, Champion Golfer of the Year


The 151st Open Championship: Strong and steady over the most pressure-packed 36 holes of his career, Titleist Brand Ambassador Brian Harman trusted his Pro V1 golf ball, TSi2 driver, 620 CB irons and Vokey Design wedges to a historic six-shot victory in the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Harman raced out to an early five-shot lead through two rounds, following a Friday 6-under 65 – featuring consecutive birdies from Nos. 2-5 and a closing eagle on 18 – that was 8.45 shots better than the day’s scoring average (the week’s single largest differential).

From the final group, he played his next 36 holes in 3 under par (69-70), including a 2-under performance over his last five holes Sunday to claim the Claret Jug.

The 36-year-old former U.S. Junior Champion is the first player to lead The Open by 5-plus shots after Rounds 2, 3 and 4 since 1934.

“I’m over the moon. It was a tough last three days, really was,” Harman said. “Being able to get some sleep was big last night. Sleeping on a lead like that is really difficult, so glad of the way I hung in there the last couple days.”

With the win, Harman moves to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the highest position of his career; to No. 6 in the FedEx Cup standings; and to No. 3 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.


Titleist Pro V1 golf ball TSi2 9.0 driver | Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 5 S TS2 13.5 fairway | Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2 S U•500 3-5 utility irons | Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 90HY 6.0 620 CB 6-P irons | True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 Vokey Design SM9 50.08F, 54.08M, 60.04L wedges | True Temper Dynamic Gold S400


Prior to the start of 2017, Brian Harman had been playing a competitive golf ball and equipment (the only Titleist club in his bag at the end of 2016 was a Vokey pitching wedge).

During that offseason, he made a call to Titleist Tour Rep Jim Curran, asking for a set of Titleist irons, similar to the ones he had played as a junior golfer and in college at the University of Georgia.

Said Curran: “Brian called me during the offseason holidays last December (2016) and said he played Titleist irons before he turned professional and has not had that feel in his iron ball striking since then. He ordered a set of 716 CB’s and we agreed to meet on the range in Palm Springs the Monday of CareerBuilder. It was then that we dialed in his loft, lies and yardages. From there, Brian was low maintenance all season. I would check his grips, lofts and lies roughly once a month and he did the rest.”

Harman put his new set of CB’s in play for the first time that Thursday at PGA West’s Nicklaus Course. (He now plays the 620 CB models.)

“Very first time when I played (the CB’s) was in Palm Springs,” Harman said in 2018. “I worked with Mr. Jim Curran and we got them figured out. Finished third that week and I was having a pretty nice year.”

Three months later, Johnson Wagner asked Harman, who was still playing a competitive golf ball, if he wanted to team up at the Zurich Classic (the first year that the Zurich went to the team format).

“He was kind of curious as to what ball we wanted to play,” Harman said. “I said, ‘I played Titleist balls in college and everything. We’ll just play your ball (in alternate shot), no problem.

“We had a nice tournament… It got really windy. I was hitting some shots with Johnson’s ball, shots that I just couldn’t hit with the ball I was playing. After that round, I decided to switch to the Pro V1. …

“I hit one shot on the second hole the last day in New Orleans (with the competitive ball) that spun up into the wind. I hit it flush but it came up 10 yards short and plugged in the bunker. And I just remember thinking, ‘That’s the last time I’m going to hit that ball. I’m switching balls.’ So, I switched, man, and I’m back. When I switched (to Pro V1), I want to say I was right around 90th in the world, and now I’m 30th, I think. … (Prior to Wells Fargo, Harman was 93rd in the OWGR. He ended 2017 at 25th.)

The following week, Harman teed up Pro V1 at the Wells Fargo Championship. On Sunday, he birdied 17 and 18 at Eagle Point GC to win by one shot. “I won the next week with it (Pro V1), the very first week I played it,” Harman said.

Harman reiterated the significance of his switch prior to last year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he finished T6: “The reason I switched back to Titleist was because of windy days and with Open Championships and major championships in mind. To flight the ball and not have to worry about it getting up and getting out of hand was a big deal.”

“I switched to this ball in 2017 from a different company and the effects were immediate. You know, the last four years on tour have been my best four put together,” Harman said prior to the 2022 U.S. Open. “I just was never able to flight my old ball. I had trouble controlling and especially in the wind and we ended up playing so much wind out here. The effects for me were immediate switching to this Pro V and I mean, it’s been a complete 180. The way that I flight iron shots, the way that I control it around the green, it saves me, I don’t know how many shots it’s saved me.”

When Harman arrived at the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions to open 2018, there were several new additions to his bag, including a new Titleist driver, fairways and full set of Vokey Design wedges.


Fairways Magazine

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