Tiger Woods scorched to his 60th PGA Tour win in Chicago on Sunday but Padraig Harrington wants to make him wait for No 61.
After skipping the BMW Championship won by Woods with an incredible closing 63, the Dubliner edged out Luke Donald for the 30th and last qualifying spot of this week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta by just 143 points.
The Open champion would prefer another week off, but he’s determined to make his 4,000 mile transatlantic trip worthwhile by grabbing his fourth PGA Tour victory.
Harrington said: “I’m looking forward to it. It looked for a while last night like I might not qualify but I am going now and I am going out there to try and win.
“I can’t win the FedEX Cup but there is still a tournament to be won and a lot of world ranking points too.
“I’ve had a week off, the game is good and I’ve done a lot of practice. East Lake has been good for me in the past too.”
The bad news for Harrington is that the climax to the FedEx Cup series has been hit by disaster on East Lake’s greens.
A summer drought has left them in a dreadful state and the PGA Tour has taken the unprecedented step of cancelling the pro-am and banning the players from practising on the course.
Harrington said: “I like East Lake but there is a a big problem with the greens this week and we are not allowed to practice on the course.
“That is not what you want to hear but there is nothing you can do about it. It will be the same for everyone.”
Aussie Robert Allenby lashed the PGA Tour for what he believes will be a “Mickey Mouse” conclusion to the much-hyped FedEx Cup.
Allenby said: “To say that it’s not ready is pretty disgusting, I think. Especially for a major event. I mean, this is what it’s all about - the FedEx Cup.
“It’s coming down to the final event and it’s going to be a non-event because it could be Mickey Mouse golf.
“You might hit good shots, good putts but who knows what the greens will be like? We’re not allowed to play them until Thursday.”
Players will be allowed to hit drives and approach shots on par four and five holes as long as they do not reach the green.
On top of that, the PGA Tour has replaced tomorrow’s Pro Am with a question and answer session with all 30 players followed by a clinic and lunch.
Woods will arrive in Atlanta targeting victory in the inaugural FedEx Cup and a $10 million retirement bonus.
But even the world No 1 was amazed by the news about the greens in Atlanta.
He said: “I’ve never heard of anything like that before. Certainly in my years on Tour and my years in amateur golf and junior golf, I’ve never heard of the Pro-Am being canceled with good weather. This will be interesting to see.”
Woods’ 60th PGA Tour win was his fifth at Cog Hill in what was formerly known as the Western Open.
But it also left him fifth in the all-time list of PGA Tour winners behind Sam Snead (82 wins), Jack Nicklaus (73), Ben Hogan (64) and Arnold Palmer (62).
At 31, Woods reached 60 wins five years quicker than anyone else.
He also did it in record breaking style with his closing 63 equalling the lowest 18-hole score in the history of the 104 year-old championship.
His 22-under par winning total was also five shots better than anyone else and he will almost certainly pass Snead’s record before the end of the decade if he continues to win events at this pace.
Woods said: “I never, ever would have dreamt that this could have happened this soon. This is my 12th season and to have this many wins, I just never could have foreseen that.
“I’ve exceeded my expectations, and it’s been a lot of fun to enjoy that whole road, that whole process, to get to 60. It’s been a lot of work. There have been some changes along the way but I think that’s all been great.”
Harrington was seriously impressed by Woods’ feat, adding: “Tiger winning 60 times is absolutely unbelievable. I don’t think there is any doubt that he is going to break the record for wins on the PGA Tour.”
Woods will have more players that just Harrington to worry about as he chases his seventh win of the season and FedEX Cup victory.
But after jumping from third to first in the FedEx Cup race, only second ranked Steve Striker and No 3 Phil Mickelson have any realistic chance of denying him the FedEx Cup.
Woods or Stricker will win the $10 million bonus if they triumph at East Lake. But Mickelson must win the Tour Championship and hope that Woods finishes lower than second alone.
Fourth ranked Rory Sabbatini and fifth ranked KJ Choi have to win and hope that Woods finishes out of the top 15, which something the world No 1 hasn’t done since the Memorial in early June.