Brian Harman, the Champion Golfer of the Year. Stuart Franklin/R&A

There were so many at Royal Liverpool hoping Brian Harman would crumble. He had shot the best round of the Open Championship on Friday, beating the day’s scoring average by a whopping eight-and-a-half shots, and then was trusted into a Saturday pairing with Tommy Fleetwood, northwest England’s favourite son, who grew up 30 minutes up the road.

Harman would only say that he heard some comments from the gallery that were “unrepeatable”. Sunday wasn’t much better for Harman either and his repeated waggles annoyed those watching both in person and on television.

Ultimately, none of that phased the 36-year-old who had only won twice on the PGA Tour and had collected two top-10 finishes in majors. Neither did the proper Open weather, which on Sunday produced drenching rain the entire round.

There were minor hiccups over the 72 holes, but never a major speed-bump or roadblock. Harman shot 67-65-69-70 for a 12-under-par 271 total to win the claret jug and become the Champion Golfer of the Year.

This week was all about Harman. Or, at least, it was from Friday onward. But no one else produced much of a threat over the last 36 holes. Not that Harman allowed for it.

Harman, ranked No. 26 in the world, began the final round with a five-shot lead over playing partner Cameron Young. It was an understandably nervy start for the man who had not been in this position in his long tour career. He bogeyed the second and fifth holes, the later reducing the lead to only three over Masters champion Jon Rahm. But just as Harman had done for most of the week, he rebounded, this time with consecutive birdies on the sixth and seventh holes to move back ahead comfortable for the remainder of the day.

There was another bogey at 13, but again he bounced back with birdies on 14 and 15 to enjoy the rainy walk over the last three holes. The birdie on 14, in particular, was the dagger to the rest of the field still holding onto hope, as Harman drained one from 40 feet.

Fellow Georgia Bulldog Sepp Straka (69), Tom Kim (67), Jason Day (69) and Rahm (70) all tied for second place. Rahm made the biggest jump on Saturday with an eight-under 63 but didn’t have enough firepower on Sunday. He ends the year with the Masters victory, a 50th-place tie at the PGA Championship, a tie for 10th at the US Open and a share for second place at Royal Liverpool.

Rory McIlroy came in as the favourite, having won both last week at the Scottish Open and nine years ago when the 2014 Open was at Royal Liverpool. The World No. 2 played well enough over the weekend but it was a mediocre 71-70 start that kept him from contention. He ended at six under and tied for fifth place. His major drought, however, will continue at least for another nine months, when the Masters rolls around in April. The second-place finish by a shot to Wyndham Clark at the U.S. Open will be the one this year that stings the most.

“Over the last two years would I have loved to have picked one of those off that I finished up there? Absolutely,” McIlroy said. “But every time I tee it up, or most times I tee it up, I’m right there. I can’t sit here and be too frustrated.”

Walking up the 18th hole, those who had jeered Harman during the week were left with only cheers. He had only six bogeys for the week, drove it on a rope and putted better than anyone. It was a week that every professional hopes to have — one where you’re in control of all facets of your game during a four-day span where the game seems as easy as it’s ever been.

And for that, the gallery appreciated the performance. Afterall, Brian Harman is the Champion Golfer of the Year.