Brian Harman Considered Career Change to Broadcasting Before Winning The Open Championship
PGA TOUR Player Reflects on Mental Struggles and Journey to Success
Brian Harman, the professional golfer who recently won his first major title at The Open Championship, revealed on Tuesday that he had contemplated a career change to broadcasting just a month before his triumph. Speaking at the PGA TOUR’s season finale, Harman admitted that he had discussed potential announcing jobs with his agent earlier this year.
“We all have those thoughts,” Harman said. “Everyone operates on razor-thin margins in this game. A couple of shots a day and you’re out of the game. It can happen so quickly.”
However, Harman expressed gratitude that his agent, Jeremy Elliott, disagreed with his idea. “He told me exactly what I needed to hear,” Harman said. “‘No, we’re not doing that yet, Brian.'” This disagreement ultimately proved to be a turning point for Harman.
Harman’s admission sheds light on the mental challenges faced by PGA TOUR players. As a former top-ranked junior player, Harman was expected to achieve great success in the golf world. However, he spent time on mini-tours before earning his TOUR card through PGA TOUR Q-School. Despite consistently keeping his card, Harman had not won a tournament since 2017 and felt the pressure of time ticking away.
Fast forward to The RSM Classic, and Harman’s career has taken a triumphant turn. He comfortably qualified for the TOUR Championship, currently holds the 9th position on the Official World Golf Ranking, and performed well in his Ryder Cup debut. Harman’s newfound peace with his life and game led him to the major victory he had been seeking.
Interestingly, just five months ago, Harman had contemplated a move to the media side of the game. Looking back, he now believes that these thoughts may have been the catalyst for his recent success. “It’s just a cycle,” Harman explained. “You work your ass off to reach a peak, but then you stop doing the things that got you there, and it becomes a downhill journey. It snowballs until you hit rock bottom and consider doing something else. But then you realize that’s not the right path and start working hard again to climb back up. It’s a constant motion of improvement or decline, and your mindset determines which direction you’re headed.”
At 36 years old, Harman is considered a seasoned veteran on the TOUR. During a discussion about 35-year-old Eric Cole, a first-year TOUR member who is on track to win Rookie of the Year honors, Harman reflected on the journey each player takes in their career. Cole spent 13 years as a pro, including numerous wins on the Minor League Golf Tour and stints on the Korn Ferry Tour, before reaching the PGA TOUR.
Harman’s story aligns with the sentiment expressed in C.P. Cavafy’s poem “Ithaka,” which suggests that the journey can sometimes hold more value than the destination itself. Another golfer who exemplifies this notion is Camilo Villegas, 41, who recently made a strong comeback on the TOUR with a runner-up finish at the World Wide Technology Championship and a victory at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Villegas had briefly worked as a Golf Channel analyst before returning to competitive play.
Despite his recent success, Harman remains humble and surprised by his own journey. Fellow golfer Zach Johnson, who captained Harman during the U.S. Ryder Cup, expressed his shock at Harman’s admission. “I’m just shocked by that statement because he is so good,” Johnson said. “I almost want to model my game after him now because he’s really so efficient at what he does.”
Golf, like life, often holds more depth than what initially meets the eye. Harman’s story serves as a reminder that success in any field requires perseverance, mental fortitude, and a willingness to adapt to the challenges that arise along the way.