US Open efforts may cost Woods the record, says Harmon

He might only be four majors away from Jack Nicklaus’ record but Tiger Woods may have ruined his chances of overhauling the Golden Bear, according to his former coach.

Butch Harmon, who was once Woods’ mentor, said the golfer’s decision to ignore injury and play at June’s US Open could turn out to be a crucial error in judgment for the world number one.

Woods went into the Torrey Pines event without any practice, having just recovered from arthroscopic surgery. He ended up in a 19-hole play-off with Rocco Mediate, eventually limping to a thrilling victory that landed him his 14th major title.

Harmon, in Macau to open his first Asian-based golf school, was quoted by AFP as saying:

“We hope that what he did by playing at the US Open with a broken bone and a problem with the cartilage in his knee, we hope that doesn’t take away his chances to win the record, but we don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s either the most phenomenal feat ever in the game of golf or not a very smart thing if he played and he doesn’t come back healthy.”

Harmon, who coached Woods for 10 years before the partnership ended in 2002, added that he believes Tiger will make a full recovery and come back stronger than ever.

Soon after his US Open triumph, Woods announced that his season was over as he tries to make a full recovery from his injuries.

He underwent surgery to repair ligaments in his knee and said he is hoping to return to the circuit sometime next year, probably in the weeks leading up to the US Masters in April.

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