Double Masters champion Bernhard Langer believes Padraig Harrington has the guts and the game to triumph at Augusta.
The German legend, 51, tees it up in the 50th edition of the Hong Kong Open alongside Irish aces Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley at Fanling tomorrow.
And after watching Harrington’s impressive wins in The Open and US PGA this summer, he reckons it’s only a matter of time before the Dubliner pulls on the green jacket awarded to the Masters champion.
Langer said: "Padraig has been very impressive this year in winning a second British Open and the US PGA Championship, and particularly the manner in which he was able to hang in there under such intense pressure playing the last nine holes.
"The way he came through to achieve victory in both Majors was just fantastic and my hat's off to him.
"He's worked harder than most guys out here and he's also a very goal-oriented player who knows what he wants.
“Having won two British Opens and a US PGA Championship I see no reason why he can't win at Augusta. We've seen that Padraig's got the game to win the Masters.”
Harrington will be going for his third Major win on the trot and the third leg of the so-called “Paddy Slam” at Augusta National from April 9-12.
And after finishing seventh and fifth in the last two editions of the Masters, he’s shown that he has the game to triumph at the Cathedral of Pines.
Winner of the Masters in 1985 and 1993, Langer added: "Padraig can win on any golf course. He's long enough and he's precise enough and his short game is superb.
“Mentally he is very strong and he's also got the experience and endurance to succeed at Augusta.
“It's just a matter of it all coming together in that second week of April so I would not rule out Padraig winning at Augusta, not at all.”
Langer skippered Europe to record setting nine-point Ryder Cup win at Oakland Hills in 2004.
And while does not rule himself out of the running to captain the side for a second time at some stage, he's backing Scotland's Sandy Lyle to take over from Nick Faldo in 2010.
Langer said: “I'm totally for Sandy to be the next European Captain as he's done a lot for the game of golf.
"He's done a lot for European golf in particular and I have no problems with Sandy being captain whatsoever. He just deserves to be the next captain."
As for Harrington’s disappointing performances in the last two Ryder Cup matches, Langer believes it’s just part and parcel of golf's ups and downs.
He said: “If you play great in the Majors, as Padraig did this year, it doesn't mean you play well in a Ryder Cup.
“He didn't play well in the weeks leading up to this year's Ryder Cup and his confidence might have been down a bit, and he might not have been totally sure about his game or his putting or whatever.
“Padraig really wasn't playing great after he won the US PGA and then his game went off and that happens in golf.
"We saw last week in Singapore how it is coming back but in golf it's a bit like this, and it's not that you are playing brilliant every time you tee it up."