Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Shortly after last week's column hit the presses a phrase within it soon became redundant – "Tiger is still out of sorts". Woods had shot a scruffy 71 in the first round of the Buick Open, slicing drives and missing the odd putt, leaving him eight shots off the lead. It had seemed fair comment, considering his missed cut at the Open.

But Woods was now compiling an immaculate nine-under 63, followed on Saturday by a 65. And he romped clear on Sunday to win his fourth tournament of the year. He was up against a moderate field but it was some turnaround. On Thursday Woods was at it again – dumping close to a dozen tee shots into the rough during the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, then using his shot-making skills to return a two-under 68.

Woods will tee off favourite for next Thursday's USPGA Championship at Hazeltine, the last major of the season. Bookies take few chances with him because he can make fools of them in an hour. But is Woods a bet? Can the wayward drives be countered over Hazeltine's vast length, which includes three holes over 600 yards?

I'll leave Tiger until Saturday morning, starting instead with holder Padraig Harrington (33-1 William Hill), whose first-round 64 at the Bridgestone suggested a revival; Phil Mickelson (16-1 generally); and Geoff Ogilvy (40-1 Ladbrokes). Fivers each-way all round.

*We won £22 on the third Test draw, thanks, admittedly, to the bad weather rather than England's efforts – more Michael Fish than Michael Atherton.

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