Golf: Woods' record can be broken, says Harrington

TIGER WOODS' record-breaking 15-stroke major-winning margin of ten years ago can and will be broken, says Padraig Harrington – just not at this week's US Open.

World No.1 Woods routed all comers in 2000 when the US Open last visited Pebble Beach, reaching 12 under par for the first of his three home championship victories. The famous California links has undergone considerable changes since to give it teeth in the face of improving technology and longer hitters, but Ireland's three-time major winner believes records are made to be broken.

"Is there any record that stands forever? No. At the end of the day, while it's phenomenal in this day and age, it's going to change," Harrington said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"That's the nature, people get bigger and stronger and better at everything. There's many records set that we look back in time and we thought would never be broken.

"So I have to think, yes, it will be broken eventually."

This year's US Open challenge at Pebble Beach, which begins tomorrow, may not be the place to do it, though, Harrington added. "Do I think it's going to be broken this week? No. But there's kids in college now, phenomenal talents, and maybe they won't break it because there will be two of them playing that well.

"Certainly (Woods) was more than a step ahead of the rest, he was two or three steps ahead of everybody in 2000. And that is unusual, but records are there to be broken and it eventually will be broken.

"I'm sure nobody, when Jack (Nicklaus) finished with 18 majors, thought that would ever be challenged. And yet for a long time most people think (for) Tiger, it's not even a challenge. These records are always going to be broken. They give a goal for people to chase. And sometimes it's like the four-minute mile, once it's been done, everybody else follows suit a lot easier."

Despite the beefing up of the Pebble Beach links and his recent minor knee surgery, the Irishman said he was capable of adding to his major haul of two Opens and one US PGA victory and felt the course set-up was a fair one.

"If you don't like it there's no point in being here, basically. It's as good a set-up as could be," he said. "Does it suit my game? As much as any other week, yes. Am I capable of winning? Yes. No problem about that. I've probably shown better form coming into this major than I have any of the three I've won.

"It takes a lot to win a major tournament. It's not as easy as just clicking your fingers.

"I've probably played a little bit better on the range than I have on the golf course but I've shown enough form in a number of tournaments that it could take place this week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"But it does need to kick into place. It's not like I'm carrying in unbelievable form.

"I'm looking for something to fall into place and get me across that line. I'm hopeful rather than expectant."

(USA unless stated, all times BST): (x) denotes amateurs

Starting at hole 1

1628: Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Ian Poulter (Eng), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

2052: Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Shaun Micheel, Rocco Mediate

2114: Steve Stricker, Paul Casey (Eng), Sergio Garcia (Spa)

2136: Lee Westwood (Eng), Tiger Woods, Ernie Els (Rsa)

2209: Oliver Wilson (Eng), John Senden (Aus), Heath Slocum

Starting at hole 10

1522: Brian Gay, Simon Khan (Eng), Bo Van Pelt

1533: Zach Johnson, Camilo Villegas (Col), Luke Donald (Eng)

1544: Retief Goosen (Rsa), Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera (Arg)

1606: Padraig Harrington (Irl), Phil Mickelson, Y.E. Yang (Kor)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

1639: Jason Dufner, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Ross McGowan (Eng)

2052: Simon Dyson (Eng), Alex Cejka (Ger), J J Henry

2136: Vijay Singh (Fij), Dustin Johnson, Davis Love III

2147: Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Tom Watson

2158: Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Fred Funk, Kenny Perry

2209: Ross Fisher (Eng), Brandt Snedeker, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa)

The odds

P Mickelson 8/1

T Woods 8/1

L Westwood 12/1

P Harrington 25/1

R McIlroy 25/1

E Els 33/1

J Furyk 33/1

P Casey 40/1

R Goosen 50/1

I Poulter 80/1

G McDowel l80/1

S Garcia 100/1