Padraig Harrington reckons an Irish golfer could become world No 1 for the first time. And he’s not ruling himself out of the race with Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy to reach top of the rankings.

With McDowell moving to a career high of joint fourth and Rory McIlroy ranked 12th, Harrington said: “There are real possibilities of an Irish No 1 now, aren’t there.

“I think Tiger has opened it up to everybody else. In fact, I am closer to being world No 1 now than I was when I was world No 3.”

Harrington shot to third in the world when he won the 2008 US PGA but has since slithered to 26th. But while he was a massive 10.50 world ranking points behind No 1 Tiger Woods at the time, he’s now only 5.37 points behind current No 1 Lee Westwood.

Sizing up his chances of becoming world No 1, Harrington said: “I think everybody is talking about it. But I would want to be a better player that I was when I was world No 3 to get to world No 1 now.

“When I was No 3, my world ranking average points were 7.8 and the current No 1 has nearly nine points.”

Harrington still sees Tiger as the most dangerous animal in golf despite his nightmare 2010 season.

“Tiger Woods looked like he was playing well towards the end of the year,” he said. “Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the biggest threat in the game every week. Lee Westwood is the world No 1 because he consistently puts in the performances. But if Tiger comes out and has his A game on, you’d better be right on form if you want to compete. Tiger is still the man to be wary of in any event.”

World Rankings, Week 3, 2011