Padraig Harrington reckons Tiger Woods will struggle to dominate the game again after losing confidence in his swing. But he also admits that he has more than enough on his own plate to start theorising about Tiger’s troubles.
The Dubliner points to golf’s emerging young guns and Woods’ dodgy left knee as the biggest obstacles to his bid to beat Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18 major wins.
After playing alongside Woods for the first two days at Atlanta Athletic Club and watching him fire rounds of 77 and 73 to miss the US PGA cut by six shots, Harrington told the Golf Channel: “He is still obviously a little bit in a transition with his left knee. Certainly early on, he wasn’t that confident with it.
“I saw a player who hit plenty of good golf shots. He certainly didn’t get any breaks whatsoever and got a lot of bad breaks.
“That usually happens to a player who is a little bit low on confidence.
“There is no doubt that he looks a little bit low on his game at the moment. If you have anybody else his golf game he would probably win the tournament he would be so happy with it.
“But he obviously doesn’t love his own golf game at the moment and you have to have confidence in what you are doing.”
The former world No 1 has crashed from second to 33rd in the world this year alone and looks set to fall out of the world’s top 50 if he does no play again until November.
And with young guns like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and US PGA champion Keegan Bradley - to name but a few - getting better all the time, the Dubliner doubts that Woods will ever dominate the game again.
He said: “I think if he goes out there and wins he could be right back there every week.
“I don’t think we will ever see him dominate like he dominated purely because a lot of players have got better in the meantime.
“It is hard to see him doing that but I can definitely see him winning tournaments and winning majors again.”
Harrington said several times during the US PGA that he has enough problems of his own without worrying about Woods.
After finishing tied for 64th in Atlanta alongside the likes of McIlroy, he slipped another five places to 74th in the world this week and must now battle to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.
But after sacking long-time coach Bob Torrance two weeks ago, he admits that he’s looking forward to making changes in his swing with Pete Cowen.
Encouraged by the solutions that Cowen has outlined, Harrington said: “I couldn’t get into it with the PGA Championship around the corner. It wasn’t the time to be changing things.
“When you get to a big tournament you have got to work with what you’ve got.
“I am looking forward to having a little tinker with Pete Cowen and hearing what he has to say and seeing what road that takes me down.”