Over the last two years golf experts, commentators and fans have made an array of predictions about the future of Tiger Woods’ career, which range from complete collapse to total resurgence. In Tuesday’s press conference at The Barclays, the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, the public finally got a candid perception about Woods from a player, and not just any player, but three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
When asked if he would be surprised if Tiger came back and won another four or five majors to catch up with Jack, Padraig responded:
“I still put my money on him doing it, yeah. I still believe he turns up and plays well in a given week, I think he’s well capable of winning any major he plays in. He still has — 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.”
Does Harrington have a point?
Woods was a relentless competitor and champion from 1997 to 2009, accumulating 97 worldwide wins, 71 PGA Tour victories and 14 major championships along the way. His reign over the golf world was unlike any other in history, but from a broader perspective, his command was distinctive from any other athlete in the world. Harrington added:
“Will he be as dominant as before? I think players have improved in general, so maybe not. But I still believe when it comes to the majors, they suit his ball flight, they suit his game. I played with him at the PGA and he still hit plenty of good golf shots. There’s plenty of things I saw there. Okay, it wasn’t his week that week, but when it is his week, he will win again.”
Considering all of the vitriol surrounding Woods and his poor performance over the last two seasons, it’s refreshing to hear a player like Harrington support Tiger.
Woods is vying for a spot on the Presidents Cup Team under the leadership of his old friend Freddie Couples and there’s talk that Tiger may alter his typical schedule and play in a Fall Series event. If Tiger does commit to competing in the fall, he may be able to lay the groundwork for Paddy’s positive prediction.
– Will Leivenberg