Padraig Harrington held the first-round lead at the Irish Open thanks to a seven-under 63 at Lahinch Golf Club. However, it's not just Harrington's play that's making noise.
On Wednesday, the 47-year-old questioned the major strategy of Tiger Woods, the latter who has chosen rest for his Royal Portrush preparation.
"I personally think if you're serious about winning the Open you've got to be playing tournament golf at least before it," Harrington said at Lahinch. "You'd rather be playing links golf and being in a tournament than just [playing] 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."
Woods has not appeared competitively since last month's U.S. Open, where he finished T-21. The 15-time major winner had a similar itinerary between his triumph at Augusta National and the PGA Championship; he had a quick exit at Bethpage Black, missing the cut, although he admitted to being under the weather at the PGA. Before this year, Woods had not played a tournament between majors just three times.
Harrington, who has won the Open Championship twice and will captain the European Ryder Cup team in 2020, said he's always been "mightily impressed" that Woods can go between majors without playing.
"I'd be a basket case if I didn't play the week before," Harrington said. "Different personalities [are] completely different.
"But I do think links golf is different. You're giving up some shots if you don't 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."
The 2019 Open Championship begins July 18, visiting Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951. Francesco Molinari is the defending champ.