Harrington tips Woods to match Nicklaus' major haul

Padraig Harrington says Tiger Woods is the best player of all time and can still chase down Jack Nicklaus' major record.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in 2012   -  (Getty Images)

Tiger Woods' sensational triumph at the 2019 Masters is proof he can surpass Jack Nicklaus' record major haul, but it would be nice if he finished his career tied with the 'Golden Bear', says Padraig Harrington.

A year ago, Woods ended a painful 11-year wait to once again win one of golf's big four tournaments when he overcame a two-shot deficit at the start of round four to secure a fifth green jacket.

It was Woods' 15th major victory, but now aged 44, time is running out for him to overhaul Nicklaus' benchmark of 18.

However, Harrington – a three-time major winner and Europe's next Ryder Cup captain – labelled Woods as the greatest ever and thinks he can still achieve the feat, even though he would love to see the two legends share the record.

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"There's no doubt it was a great moment for golf, I was amazed by the style he did it in," Harrington told Stats Perform.

"I always thought he was going to win another major, now I actually think he can get to the 18 or 19.

"At the time before that I was thinking Tiger is good enough to get himself in contention, he'll be having a good week and when he's there the old Tiger will come back and he'll make a few birdies, a bit like Nicklaus winning the Masters in '86, and other guys will fall away.

"I just didn't think he'd win it the way he did - Tiger dominated that last round, the players ran away from him like it was the Tiger of old, it was a surprise to me.

"I knew Tiger could win another major, but I thought he'd win it like everyone else, get in the right position and one or two things happen at the end, but this was a dominant performance.

"It's different to what I expected, it showed he was in control, it wasn't circumstances. The likelihood is he could do that again and that's why I think now he can win another three majors.

"I'd personally like him to win another three, not four. It would be nice if he tied with Jack. I think Jack was great for the game.

"I personally think Tiger is the best player ever, I never got to play with Jack in his prime so I don't necessarily want him to beat such a legend, a tie would be very nice in my eyes, so let's hope he gets another three."

This year's Masters was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is now slated to take place in November.

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Woods' history of back injuries is well documented, and Harrington says only he will know if the extra time will be good for him physically.

"I think at the moment Tiger was struggling, his injuries do seem to be there, there's a lot of ups and downs in his injuries," Harrington added.

"In November he could be just as injured or he could be much better, we're never quite 100 ,per cent sure.

"He would have been trying to compete for Augusta, Tiger tends to get these things right too, so you'd think he'd be getting right and getting his back ready for Augusta.

"Another six months would be good for his back, or I think it would be. He's six months older, I don't know really. Tiger's really the only one who can tell if this is positive or negative in terms of how he feels his physical state will be.

"It's funny, we're talking mental state for everyone else and it's Tiger's physical state we're thinking of.

"But look, everybody will make the most of their opportunity when they get there, I don't see it making a huge difference. If you're serious about winning Augusta, you're going to be preparing for that April week, now you're going to be preparing for November."

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