Former Michigan State All-American Matt Harmon is one of two former Spartans that will be in the field for this week’s U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
The U.S. Open will be the fourth career PGA event for Harmon and his first major championship. Harmon competed in the Buick Open in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Harmon helped MSU win Big Ten titles in 2005 and 2007.
Here’s his thoughts on his big week.
Q: What was the feeling like last week when you were able to secure a spot in the U.S. Open field?
Harmon: That was relieving. I’ve played some really good golf at some of these qualifiers to get in events and I’ve just been missing out. To get in and to not even have to play a playoff to get in, I was pretty ecstatic.
Q: What kind of expectations do you have entering your first professional major?
Harmon:I know it’s just golf. I’m just gonna go out there and play golf, but at the same time the U.S. Open is no different from a normal PGA Tour event as well. They haven’t had the championship at this golf course, Merion, since I think it was 1981. Nobody really knows the golf course. A lot of the players have never played it before. I’m just gonna kind of go out and do my deal and see how I stack up against. I don’t really have any expectations. If I just do my best I’ll know I’ll make the cut and have a pretty good week.
Q: What are you hoping to get out of this experience?
Harmon: Just to be a better golfer. I’m gonna learn from this week, that’s for sure. Just how to play in a U.S. Open golf course, how they’re structured, how to play in front of a lot of people and that kind of stuff. That’s a given to take that away from this event.
Q: What’s it mean to be sharing this experience with another former Spartan and teammate Randall Hutchison?
Harmon:It will be great to see a familiar face. When the deer in the headlights look comes on, we can both kind of look at each other. We’ll both be there together so it will be a lot of fun. It’s cool. I think John Koskinen was the last to play in the U.S. Open about six years ago from Michigan State. I know John real well and he’s always talked about how cool of an experience it was. Just to have a former teammate go through it with you, I think it will be better.
Q: Talk about your professional career to date and the journey it’s been for you?
Harmon: Throughout a year and throughout a career everything is up and down. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve had some success and some disappointing times. I played on the mini tours for four years and then the last year and a half or so have been on the Web.com tour. You never know when you’re gonna get your chance. It just takes four good days and your whole life is completely changed around. I’m just kind of waiting for my time.
Q: And hoping to take advantage of opportunities like the one you have this week here?
Harmon: That would be fantastic. I know there’s a lot up for grab this week. My year hasn’t gone the way that I’d imagined or the way I feel as though it could’ve gone. I’ve been working hard, giving myself opportunities and staying positive. It could be this week, or if it’s not it could be a week down the road.