From Brian Keogh in California
Padraig Harrington believes that Tiger Woods is gunning to officially complete his domination of world golf by taking the European Order of Merit.
As he prepared to round off a spectacular year in the Target World Challenge in LA, the Open champion predicted that Woods will eventually decided to take European Tour membership at some time in the future and etch his name on the Harry Vardon Trophy.
The world No 1 can’t play in the 2009 Dubai World Championship unless he plays 11 European Tour events.
And while he has shot down hopes of playing in the inaugural event, Harrington reckons the game’s top player won’t be able to resist the $10 million event for long.
Harrington said: “I am not surprised that Tiger hasn’t given a commitment to the new Dubai event. I don’t think he will change his mind next week but in the future I can see him wanting to go out there and win that title.
“He’ll want to make the effort to go out and win the title once in his career. I don’t know if it will be next time round but in time I can seem him going for it.
“It would be big for the European Tour if Tiger decides that he would like to get his name on the Harry Vardon Trophy.
“He is obviously somebody who wants to achieve everything in the game of golf and I think there is a possibility that he will go for it at some stage.
“I can guarantee you that he is not going to tell anybody he is going to do it until he has played nine events and then decides he is going to play the last two.
“We can talk all we like but we are not going to get an answer from Tiger now.”
Harrington won the Target World Challenge in 2002 and has finished second in 2004 and third in 2003.
But he is playing down his chances of winning again this year after taking nearly four weeks off following the birth of his second son Ciaran.
He said: “After this week it is Christmas and I am quite happy to get a clean break and recharge for next year.
“Once I get to Christmas I can concentrate on getting my game ready for next year. This is a nice way to round off the year.
“Right now I am struggling a little bit and I am feeling quite fatigued. Normally when I come here I am coming in with play under my belt.
“But this year I have just had nearly four weeks off so I have low expectations.
“The few days off have been good but I have being doing far too much stuff other than golf and I am feeling fairly fatigued.”
Woods is the red-hot favourite to win the title for the fourth him and Scot Colin Montgomerie believes that while the the world No 1 is not invincible, he is close to the kind of form that saw him hold all four majors in 2000.
Montgomerie said: “I always think his best time was 2000 when he held all four majors at the one time and I think he’s getting back to that level again.
“Who is to say that 2008 won’t be the time that he does all four. It is nice to feel that we have potentially the best sportsman in the world playing golf for the first time ever and that helps us all.
“It helps you guys, it helps me, it helps everyone that’s connected with the game of golf. It’s super to have that time that we’re having right now.”