You wait a while for a Padraig Harrington press gathering and then two come along in rapid succession.

Two weeks ago, the amiable Irishman hosted a telephone conference call to discuss this July’s Open at Carnoustie. Yesterday, Harrington was actually at Carnoustie to have a hit around the four play-off holes he beat Sergio Garcia over to win the Claret Jug here in 2007. At this rate, he’ll be making personal house visits to the golf writers next.

As Harrington chatted away during a promotional day organised by Wilson, the equipment manufacturer which has provided the tools of his trade for 20 years, the R&A sent out a statement expressing their glee that Tiger Woods has entered this summer’s Open.

Of course, a man entering a tournament is hardly earth shattering news. If Woods hadn’t entered, then there’s your story. But this is the Tiger we’re talking about; the golfing renaissance man who continues to send needles of interest and intrigue pinging into the red.

Like a new update on your computer this is Tiger Woods version 2.0. The fever surrounding Woods has made Beatle-mania look like Fred Dibnah cutting the ribbon on a new butcher’s shop in Bolton and a UK audience will get a first taste of this hoopla at Carnoustie in a couple of months’ time.

Harrington has witnessed at first hand both editions of the Woods phenomenon down the years. This one has ramped up the levels, though.

“The buzz at Tampa for the Valspar Championship in March, I’ve never seen anything like before ever in the game of golf,” he said.

“When Tiger was at his best there was an incredible buzz. We just assumed that’s what it was. Over the last 10 years we’ve had players come and go and there’s a buzz but at Tampa it was all different. It was amazingly different.

“You had people who had seen Tiger at his best who wanted to see him again. You had young people who had never seen him play. But then you had an element of people who hadn’t seen him play but were anxious to see him play in case they never got the chance to see him play again.

“You had three sets of people out there, a good bunch of them non-golfers, who wanted to see a great sportsman play with the fear that he could play one event and then say ‘that’s it I’m gone’. So of course I’m thrilled to see him back. I had a great sporting relationship with him.

“He wasn’t a very social person. Nor was I in our heydays. Now we are both at a stage where we crave a bit more of the social side of things. In my day Tiger was all about him. But earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open he came onto the range. He talked to three or four people, he came to me and had a chat. He stood there with his caddie and some media. And no manager.

“Prior to 2008 I don’t think he ever stood there without his manager beside him. Tiger was always polite. He was the easiest player to play golf with. He’d say ‘good shot’ when you hit a good shot and would have a few small chats but basically you were there to play golf.

“Now he’s more relaxed and he’s wanting to enjoy it. He’s got to that stage where it’s not all business. I do believe he will win tournaments. When you get in the heat of the hunt you know what it’s all about. There won’t be too many people wanting to come down the stretch against Tiger Woods.”

Harrington enjoyed a sentimental wander over the last four holes at Carnoustie yesterday. The 18th, that terrific, daunting anything-can-happen closing hole, gave Harrington the heebie-jeebies in that Open of 2007 when he dumped two balls in the water on the 72nd hole, thought he had lost the Open but then won in the play-off.

“I don’t think you’ll find a tougher last hole in any tournament,” he said. “It really puts you under severe pressure. There are lots of fears and it would keep you awake at night.

“Sometimes I’ve lacked intensity when going to play regular golf. Sometimes at tournaments you don’t wake up with the butterflies but I could stand and play this 18th every day and still be interested.

“Even flying over here last night I was thinking about the 18th and how I would play it. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. It brings a lot of pressure and it carries a lot of baggage. It’s a very difficult finishing hole but the storylines and history makes it even tougher.”