Padraig Harrington still puts his money on Tiger Woods breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 professional majors.
Harrington played the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship with Woods, who missed the cut. Even so, the Irishman saw him hit enough good shots to realize his game will not be gone forever.
“I still believe when he turns up and plays well in a given week, I think he’s well capable of winning any major he plays in,” Harrington said at The Barclays. “He still has a good ball flight. He still hits it well. Once he puts it together in a given week, he can win and will going forward. … OK, it wasn’t his week that week. But when it is his week, he will win again.”
Harrington said the difference now is that if something can go wrong with Woods on the course, it will. Woods was atop the leaderboard through five holes of the opening round, and one tee shot into the water changed everything. He opened with a 77 and finished outside the top 100 in a major for the first time.
“This is what I would have seen at the PGA,” Harrington said. “Certain he played better, much better than his score. Whereas when he was on top of his game, he always scored really well. It was very rare that you would ever see Tiger Woods walking off a golf course where he had not got the most out of his round, where he certainly didn’t at the PGA. He got the minimum out of his rounds.”
Harrington said Woods appeared frustrated with the technical part of his game, which did not surprise him. Harrington knows better than most, since he always is tinkering with his swing.
“When you’re kind of happy with your game, you tend to get the most out of it,” he said. “You feel like you shot 70 and you end up shooting 68. And when you’re not happy with your game, you feel like you shot 70 and you end up shooting 72. I experience that myself a lot. That’s kind of what I see in Tiger’s game.”