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Pádraig plots US Open glory

Tiger Woods' record-breaking 15-stroke major-winning margin of 10 years ago can, and will be, broken, says Padraig Harrington -- just not at this week's US Open.

World number one 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 a 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.

"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."

This year's US Open challenge at Pebble Beach 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.

"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.

"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 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 USPGA, and felt the course set-up was a fair one.

"If you don't like it there's no point in being here," he said.

Am I capable of winning? Yes. I've probably shown better form coming into this major than I have any of the three I've won.

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

Meanwhile, Woods will head into the event believing his career is finally returning to normal after a turbulent seven months in his personal life.

The world number one will attempt to win his 15th major when he tees off at Pebble Beach Golf Links tomorrow, just his fifth tournament since returning to the game after a leave of absence that started at the end of last year, prompted by numerous revelations of infidelity by the American star.

"That's certainly getting better," Woods said.

"Getting back into the competitive atmosphere and preparation and that's something that I hadn't done for a long period of time.

"And now I've done that since April and that part has certainly become much more normal now.

"I'm starting to find out how much I can and can't push myself each and every day as far as practice (goes).

"I overdid it, overcooked it right before Augusta, trying to get ready, and certainly I learned my lesson there."


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