Triple major winner Padraig Harrington weighed in on the Tiger Woods controversy over his car crash early last Friday morning and the Irish golfer has expressed sympathy for the press scrutiny the world number one golfer is under.
"It's amazing how the rumors can build up," said the Dubliner, who is among the field at the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California this week, the very tournament Woods was meant to host and compete in before pulling out on Monday due to the injuries he sustained in the accident
"I've been on the other end of that stick, and it's amazing how things can generate and build up. We're all inquisitive. We all pick up the newspapers every day and read about stories. There's sometimes only 25 per cent of the fact and the rest are 75 per cent made up. It's just part of life."
Harington had no reason to doubt why Woods was unable to tee off this week.
"With him unconscious for six minutes, I hardly think he's fit to play golf," he said. "So I think it's reasonable for him not to be competing. We do miss him. We'd all like to be out there beating him this week, but we don't get that chance."
The world number five did not even entertain any notion of talking about why things transpired as they did at the Woods’ house in Windermere, Florida.
"He was in a car crash and was injured," said the 38-year-old. "That's the fact as much fact as we know and that's causing him to not come here and play. That's as far as I'm going with it at the moment. The rest is all interest and speculation and, as I said, it is natural for somebody of his profile for speculation and things for everybody to be talking about it."
"If Tiger Woods was not the No.1 sports star in the world, there wouldn't be a story. It is what it is because of how good he is, and he'll have to deal with it."
For Harrington, it is time to focus on the tournament at hand, though he does admit the Tiger angle will have an influence on the week.
"I think it's going to take away from the tournament the first couple of days," added Harrington.
"Now we're talking about Tiger not being here. But I think as the tournament starts and progresses through the rounds, I think it'll be more about who's playing well and who's trying to win the tournament. I think the tournament itself will evolve very nicely once the play starts."