Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

How this punter discovered he'd become a jinx
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The Independent Online

Punters often have losing streaks. They rationalise such sequences as a temporary loss of touch, or blame external circumstances such as the weather or the bloke who whispered a tip into their "shell-like".

But it becomes spooky when a punter comes to believe that horses and humans are losing because he has put the mockers on them by backing them.

I tipped four football teams for their respective divisions this season and three – Everton, Reading and Southampton – promptly lost their first games. Then Dustin Johnson returned. I had backed Johnson at 40-1 for the US Open at Pebble Beach and he began his final round with a three-shot lead. He fell apart, shooting an 82.

Last week I loyally added him to my portfolio, again at 40-1, for the US PGA Championship (in which Rory McIlroy's gallant third allowed us to break even). Johnson made the final pairing again.

Needing to par the 18th to win, his tee shot crashed into the crowd on a hill. He recovered to leave a seven-foot putt. He missed. He was then penalised two shots for not playing his sand-dune lie as a bunker, ending his play-off chance.

This was no "Grassy Knoll" conspiracy – it was my fault, Dustin. Sorry.

Here are my bets for the week, so that jinxed competitors may know their fate: £10 win on Mark Hughes' Fulham at 11-2 (Blue Square) to beat Manchester United tomorrow; £10 win Liverpool at 23-10 (Betfred) to beat Manchester City on Monday night; £10 win Joshua Tree, ante-post for the St Leger, at 12-1 (Totesport).