'If you're serious about winning the Open you've got to be playing tournament golf at least before it' – Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington believes anyone serious about winning the Open Championship should be playing at least once in the fortnight beforehand – which could be bad news for Tiger Woods.

Woods did not play between winning his 15th major title in the Masters and missing the cut in the following month’s US PGA, and nor is he scheduled to compete between the US Open and the Open at Royal Portrush.

“I personally think if you’re serious about winning the Open you’ve got to be playing tournament golf at least before it,” Harrington, who lifted the Claret Jug in 2007 and 2008, said ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.

“You’d rather be playing links golf and being in a tournament than just on your own, so if you’re serious about trying to win the Open you should be playing at least one, if not two, of the events running into it. I would say two if you can handle three events in a row.

“Some guys don’t want to play three weeks in a row. Some guys feel like they peak after playing one tournament. Other guys feel like they peak after playing two tournaments. We’re all different in that sense.

“I was always mightily impressed when Tiger Woods would play in a major without playing the week before. I’d be a basket case if I didn’t play the week before.

“Different personalities, completely different. But I do think links golf is different.

“You’re giving up some shots if you don’t get out on a links golf course and play some links golf in the couple of weeks coming up to it.

“There’s no better way to understand your clubbing than when you’ve got a card in your hand and if you under club there’s a little bit of pain and you remember it.”

Harrington suffered real pain from a wrist injury at the end of last year which kept him out of action until March and the three-time major champion has slipped to 291st in the world after three missed cuts in his last four events.

“I’ve had a number of injuries in my career through overwork and over-practice, and every time the minute I’ve been cleared to go back I’d literally get back on the golf course and go, ‘yeah, I’m ready to go’,” the Ryder Cup captain added.

“This one has been a lot harder. It’s now July and it feels like it’s January to me. I just haven’t got going.

“I haven’t played enough competitive rounds. I haven’t been on the golf course enough. I’ve never gotten into the run of it.”

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