8 Words That Inspired a Championship

Brian Harman captured his first major championship over the weekend — and credited a slight from a fan as the fuel he needed.

In 2002, Brian Harman held a one-stroke lead entering the final hole of the U.S. Open Junior Championship. He hit his next shot into the water and would go on to lose the tournament.

In 2017, Harman entered the final round of the U.S. Open with a one-stroke lead. He couldn’t hold on, ultimately finishing in a tie for second place.

On Saturday, after going into the third round of The Open Championship with a five-stroke lead, he putted two bogeys in his first four holes — and seemed destined for a similar fate.

That’s when eight words from a heckler in the gallery changed his mentality.

“Harman, you don’t have the stones for this,” the spectator said.

But a little over 24 hours later, Harman captured his first Open championship — and credited the slight from the fan as the fuel he needed to lock in.

“It helped snap me back into, ‘I’m good enough to do this. I’m going to do this. I’m going to go through my process, and the next shot is going to be good,’” he said.

It’s an important message with a critical lesson.

As leaders, we often face skeptics who enjoy sitting in the stands and second-guessing our every move.

Uneducated fans yell about our play calls. Critics express doubt over our strategies and visions. Outsiders take shots at us and tell us we’re not built for the job.

It’s easy to give in to these opinions, particularly during trying times. But it might also serve us to see how these insults and criticisms can motivate us — and how we can use them to actually elevate our performance.

The truth is that the words of others only have as much weight as we give them. Instead of letting them negatively impact us, we might want to draw from Harman and consider how we can reframe the situation and use the doubts to our advantage.

Who knows whether that critic has ever hit a golf ball or what his incentive was in making that comment?

But his message that was intended to rattle the 36-year-old Harman seemed to horribly backfire.

When it was all said and done, it was the mature veteran hoisting the Claret Jug — fueled by the disappointments of past years' and the criticism of a short-sighted outsider.

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