Brian Harman’s Royal Liverpool win celebrated at local American diner24th July 2023

Late on the rainiest but for him the happiest of Sundays, Brian Harman queued for a table in the Wirral town of West Kirby. He was cuddling newly acquired silverware and, appropriately, the restaurant was an American meat joint.

Diners were soon aware they were in the company of the new Open champion – the man dubbed “the butcher of Hoylake” for his propensity to slay and eat big game.

And for the first time there was a genuine buzz about a US golfer, who hours earlier had completed his domination of the sport’s oldest and most prestigious major.

Suddenly Harman was the smiling centrepiece for a flurry of selfies and once a table was found beer started to flow from the Claret Jug. He celebrated with fellow pros Sepp Straka and JT Poston.

Laughter and happiness filled their little corner of Hickory’s Smokehouse with the famous trophy sitting at the end of the table.

It was in contrast to the dour, soggy atmosphere in which the 36-year-old champion had played the golf of his life hours earlier.

When fans are clutching umbrellas it is very difficult to applaud, but I have never known a quieter championship and less warmth shown towards the winner – especially while they were compiling a golfing masterpiece.

Obviously the galleries were hoping for home success, but Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy were unable to match the extraordinary levels attained by the Georgia native who triumphed by six shots.

Those soaked spectators were also desperate to see a contest. Again, Harman was the party-pooper holding the field at arms length, as he did from the moment he holed for eagle on Friday lunchtime to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

Still, the job needed completing by a player who had not won since 2017 despite 29 top-10 finishes in that time. The composed, steely, disciplined golf he played over the final two rounds was top drawer stuff.

But few in the crowd made much noise to acknowledge the accuracy of his approach play. “There was a couple times I got up there and I was like, oh, that’s better than I thought it was,” Harman admitted.

And then there was the precision of his putting. A missed seven-footer on the 13th hole of his final round was his only blemish from inside 10 feet all week on greens that bamboozled many of his rivals.

Harman credits a device he found lying around at home that helps reflect his action and enabled him to make a crucial technical tweak, “It’s a silly looking mirror where it’s got like a little better release pattern,” he revealed.

“I was just 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 last month or so.”

World beating good.

And allied to a cussed determination not to squander this opportunity to land a first major title. How did he respond to the bogey at 13? By canning a 40-footer for birdie at the next hole – one of the most difficult on the course.

Earlier he had made a similar impact with his tee shot to the awkward par-three sixth after covering the first five holes in two over par.