Can Paddy break through the three-major wall?

Padraig Harrington speaks the media during his Tuesday press conference at the Masters.

Padraig Harrington speaks the media during his Tuesday press conference at the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – No one has won more than three majors while playing primarily in the Tiger Woods era. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh are all stuck on that number.

Harrington would like to change that this week, and may have the best chance at victory among the three-major set.

“People have been saying, ‘Who is going to get the fourth major, break out of that pack of three?’ ” he said Tuesday. “If I won a fourth, I would dearly like it to be the Masters or the U.S. Open, as in one of the ones I haven’t got.”

Harrington, No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has played well heading into Augusta. He tied for third at Doral and tied for eighth at Innisbrook before finishing 40th last week at the Shell Houston Open.

Harrington also has a good Masters record, tying for seventh in ’07 and fifth the following year. He tied for 35th in ’09 while seeking to extend the Paddy Slam. He was struggling at the time with swing changes.

Els won twice in the Florida Swing, tied for 44th last week at the Shell Houston Open, and has finished runner-up at the Masters twice, but has also missed his past three Masters cuts.

Singh is coming off a back injury that caused him to withdraw from three consecutive events. He pulled out of last week’s Shell Houston Open after shooting 43 on his first nine. Singh finished fourth and 11th in his two PGA Tour starts before the injury.

Mickelson has been erratic this year. He’s made all seven cuts, but has only one top-10 finish (at Pebble Beach).

Harrington would be happy to be the first player of the Tiger Era to win four majors.

“In the end of the day, my whole career is now, after winning three majors, is going to be judged on majors,” he said.

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