Harrington on Tiger: “I think he’ll win another major”

Ronan MacNamara
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Padraig Harrington (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy won’t be the last pair to taste defeat at the hands of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in a game of golf but Tiger did enough in ‘The Match’ to catch the eye of Pádraig Harrington who has backed him to win a sixteenth major championship.

Woods played in the exhibition match a week after withdrawing from his own Hero Challenge in what was his first televised appearance since the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews where many believed he might retire from the game.

Harrington was speaking ahead of the PNC Championship where he tees it up with his eldest son Paddy (19) who has just completed his college exams. Woods will be alongside his son Charlie who will be teeing it up amid much fanfare. The three-time major champion, like everyone, is looking forward to watching the thirteen-year-old but he will also be casting a keen eye on Tiger who did enough last week to convince him that he can contend for a major title if he can gain some more ball speed.

“Looking at the speed numbers. So I want to go and see it in person and see. He’s got that, which was at the Masters, which was when he won it, which was phenomenal. Tiger, if he’s not in contention, I don’t know if he doesn’t lose interest, but when he got in contention in the Masters, everybody took note, as in the rest of the field took note,” explained Harrington.

“So Tiger knows if he can get himself into position, that he’ll raise his game and put a little bit of pressure and stress on the rest of the field. I think he needs a little bit of physicality as in that ball speed. It’s just tough if you go out there against these young guys, there’s so many of them that they’re hitting it and they’re overpowering golf courses.

“If you’re not somewhat able to keep up there, initially, you’re not doubting Tiger being good down the last nine holes, but the little bit of extra speed will help him because in the first 63 holes, that the last nine holes, you know, who would want to be coming down the stretch against Tiger… all these young guys. You know he’s capable of doing anything at that stage. And, yeah, I think he’s in a better position to get himself into that last nine holes.

“He looked good physically. As I said, he looked better at that match. So, you know, I’m not saying he “could be,” I actually believe he will be a danger. I think he’ll win another major. The way I looked at him, I genuinely think he will be in contention. And as I said, I’m sure he wishes every tournament he could play, if it’s like a major, he’s going to have a chance.

This will be Tiger’s last appearance of 2022 having played just three tournaments – all majors. The former world number one expects to compete in all four major championships next year and some supplementing PGA Tour events although he has not yet committed to the Masters.

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