NEW DELHI: Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington said on Tuesday golf had become a much more open contest since the end of Tiger Woods’ dominance, but none of the current top players could match Woods at his best.
The Irishman, who won both the British Open [twice]and US PGA when Woods was at the height of his powers, said the overall standard had improved in the last decade but there was no player who stood out from the crowd.
“I think there is a greater depth of players nowadays. In my days we pretty much had a Tiger and if he was playing his best then he was close to impossible to beat,” Harrington told reporters in New Delhi.
“Nowadays we probably got six players who are playing their best. We actually wouldn’t know who was going to win. But none of them is quite as good as Tiger when fully in form. Tiger’s ‘B’ game was pretty good as well,” he added.
“The field has also tightened up by four or five shots since I started. The players have obviously got better but the standard has got much better.”
Woods, now aged 40, won the last of his 14 major titles back in 2008 and has not played competitive golf since last August following back surgery.
Harrington, 44, a two-time British Open and former US PGA winner, has dropped down the rankings chart but still believes he can compete with the new crop of stars on a good day.
“It’s hard to live up to those standards of 2007-08. That was truly a peak,” said Harrington, who is in the capital for the Hero Indian Open which begins on Thursday.
“I am in good form. I do feel like I am playing well and I am looking forward to the next peak in my career,” he added.
Harrington, who will be joined by a host of top players in the event co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tour, is keen to make his presence felt at the Delhi Golf Club.
Top British golfers Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Warren and David Howell will be part of a high-class field including defending champion Anirban Lahiri of India and a host of other past winners.