Harrington has no pity for Woods
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington indicated yesterday that his attitude, and that of the the rest of his colleagues, towards Tiger Woods has hardened.
"I don't think there is sympathy. As he said himself, he was totally in charge and in control of what he was doing. He has responsibility for that," Ireland's most successful golfer said. "There would be sympathy for Elin, sympathy for the kids going forward but no, you can't have sympathy for Tiger like that. No," he added.
Harrington's comments came on the day after Woods delivered a carefully choreographed apology lasting almost 14 minutes to a specially selected audience of friends, staff and sponsors at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
During his abject mea culpa, Woods appeared to rule out an immediate return to golf. "I do plan to return to golf one day," Woods said. "I just don't know when that day will be. I don't rule out that it will be this year."
Yesterday Harrington admitted this surprised him, adding he still thought his rival would return to the Tour with a warm-up event before playing in the Masters at Augusta in April.
"I can't believe that he won't be back. He was brought up to be the greatest golfer ever and that puts on a lot of pressure. It's one-dimensional. Possibly what has happened in his personal life is a reflection that probably his golfing world just became too much."
Harrington suggested Woods' troubles were of his own making. "He does have the control. Yes, his life has issues in it but at the end of the day he has some very, very good points to his life. It all balances out. Yes, there are pressures there, there are external focuses and often, if you don't work with those focuses, if you don't enjoy the external pressures or at least in some way embrace them, it would be difficult to play good golf," Harrington said.
Harrington also hinted that the disintegration of Woods' private life was reflected in his behaviour on the golf course.
"We have seen that over the last 18 months with Tiger's golf. He did become irritable on the golf course and that is usually a sign that there is not much balance off the course."
Harrington added that Friday's apology was merely the "first step" in what Tiger needs to do to rebuild his life. He also rejected the notion that his tour rivals were glad he was missing from the golf course because it would give them a better chance to win.
"If you want to be the best, you have to go out there and believe you can beat everyone on your day. We don't fear (him). If Tiger goes out and plays his best golf, he will probably win but if I play my very best golf, somebody has to be at their very best to beat me."