AUGUSTA, Ga. — Brian Harman is an underdog.

He loves being an underdog and wouldn’t have it any other way.

When we last left Harman, he was hoisting the Claret Jug as the British Open champion at Royal Liverpool.

He did so under some serious duress.

Harman showed his truest grit at Liverpool, overcoming the harsh treatment from English fans who were rooting on fellow Brit Tommy Fleetwood to win.

As much as they were pulling for their countryman to win, they were verbally abusing the American Harman.

“The hardest parts for me were the walks in between like a green and a tee box,’’ Harman recalled Monday. “That’s when everyone’s right there on top of you and that’s when all the noise is happening. Especially like after a bogey or something, that’s when it’s really, really tough. For example, I bogeyed 13 and walking to the 14th, my lead’s down to four, and I’m hearing it, hearing it, hearing it. Then I got on 14 and just like [hit a] flush rocket right down the middle of the fairway.

“You get enough of those ‘take that’ moments, it helps you build confidence. So, that was almost like a calming sensation there.’’

He said the abuse happened and he dealt with it and “I’m really proud of it.’’

“I live to feel those moments,’’ Harman said. “That’s like the drug for me. I want to get in contention in big golf tournaments. My goal is to try and get to those uncomfortable places as many times as I can.’’

Harman should feel comfortable and right at home at Augusta this week considering he’s a Georgia native and a former Georgia Bulldog.

So instead of hearing jeers from the galleries this week, he’ll be hearing a lot of “Go Dawgs.’’

That, Harman said, might not be a good thing for him.

“It seems like I do better when everyone’s rooting against me than rooting for me,’’ he said. “So, that’s a new challenge. Around Augusta there’s a lot of Dawgs out here, and you hear it all week, and it’s fantastic. So I’ll have to try to channel it. Maybe I’ll just pretend that they’re yelling mean things instead of nice things.’’

Why does he thrive when things get uncomfortable?

“I think it just unlocks something like proving people wrong, or just being your back against the wall,’’ Harman said. “I think that’s an old cliché, but I’ve certainly been in some spots in my career where it wasn’t looking good and then kind of pull a rabbit out of the hat, and stuff like that.

“I think that’s just kind of human nature and everyone’s got different triggers that what sets ’em off and what makes ’em go. Stephen Ames said something about beating Tiger Woods at the Match Play one year, and [Woods] beats him 10 & 8, so you never know what’s going to set someone off and put them into that zone that they’re really comfortable.’’

Harman has become accustomed to the fan antics, particularly at the Ryder Cup on European soil in Italy last October.

But that was tame compared to the British.

“At least at the Ryder Cup it was directed at 11 other guys and not just me,’’ he said. “I love the passion of the fans. People that are that passionate about something, I would never fault them for any of that. I think it’s fantastic. It’s good for our game.

“It’s not often that we get a chance to play a true away game. Being able to experience that and figuring out kind of how you handle that, you don’t get to do that that many times.’’

Harman’s greatest win came nine months ago and he’s at this week’s Masters, the first major championship played since that Open Championship, and he’s ready for two in a row.

“I had a pretty good chance [in 2021,]’’ Harman said. “I was … [one] back going to the weekend and a couple more breaks on the weekend, maybe I could have given [winner] Hideki [Matsuyama] a run, but just wasn’t meant to be.

“I feel like I’m slightly more mature [and] ready. I’ll be more ready this week than I have been years past.’’

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