'He's human now' - Padraig Harrington 'surprised' that the old Tiger Woods didn't return when he hit the front in Carnoustie
Padraig Harrington feels Tiger Woods exploits at the Open Championship have proven that he is capable of contending again but only if he brings his A game.
Woods held the outright lead at Carnoustie heading into his back nine, as he looked to end his decade-long major drought, but dropped three shots in two holes and he never regained the momentum.
The 14-time major winner eventually finished three shots behind eventual champion Francesco Molinari.
However, swept along by a massive gallery cheering his every move, this was the biggest indication yet since returning from a fourth back operation that Woods can compete at the highest level again.
The 42-year-old's hopes of a remarkable comeback after a turbulent spell in his life - during which he has encountered off-course problems with the break-up of his marriage and a run-in with the law - were alive and well on the back nine.
He had the outright lead at seven under as he turned but dropped three shots in two holes at the 11th and 12th and never recovered his momentum.
Speaking on Sky News today, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington expected Tiger to improve once he took the lead.
"I'm surprised that he got to the lead and then didn't get better," he said.
"I did predict that once he got those feelings that he would actually reset to the old Tiger Woods. It's a lot easier when you're under pressure to go back to your natural state.
"I thought Tiger would have rest to the man we seen in the early 2000s once he got the lead.
"I was surprised getting there that he couldn't hold onto it. Obviously it's a difficult golf course to hold a lead on but I think he'll draw the confidence that his game is good enough to win, it's not good enough to win on demand like it was in the early 2000s but it's certainly good enough to win if he gets the right breaks.
"He's pretty much more like the rest of us now, he's human now. He's not two steps ahead of everybody.
"He's unlikely to declare that he can win with his B game at the moment but his A game is certainly capable of winning."