Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Tiger back on top?

Away from a certain football competition in South Africa, punters can wallow in the US Open Golf Championship and Royal Ascot.

The US Open returns to Pebble Beach, scene of one of Tiger Woods' majors in 2000. We have a different Woods now, respectful, "decaffeinated", the way people want Wayne Rooney to be. But it's the anger to be perfect that drives them to win. Take a chance on the "Woods Mojo" returning – £20 win Ladbrokes (7-1), and £10 each-way on Padraig Harrington (20-1 Stan James) and Dustin Johnson (40-1 Paddy Power).

Ascot is peppered with fabulous races and, as the movie mogul Sam Goldwyn advised, it "starts with a climax" on Tuesday, featuring three successive Group 1 races. Paco Boy (Queen Anne), Kingsgate Native (King's Stand) and Canford Cliffs (St James's Palace) can do some patriotic business.

And so to the World Cup. WDDLDWWLDWDW – can you tell what it is yet? Yep, the results of every England opening game in World Cups since 1950: five wins, five draws and two defeats (to Hungary in 1962, and Portugal in 1986). Sounds impressive but those of a certain age will remember the numbing 0-0 against Uruguay that opened the 1966 World Cup, which didn't suggest we could win the tournament. Scratchy draws against Republic of Ireland (1990) and Sweden (2002) are also etched on fans' memories.

England are unlikely to escape Group C without anxiety, with the opening game the likeliest candidate to cause it. I fancy the draw against the United States tonight, £10 at 100-30 at totesport, with £5 on the correct score, "a Desmond" (2-2), at 25-1 with Skybet.

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