Published in It's on the Net 2003

Every terrestrial TV channel has its share of sports coverage and there are satellite channels devoted to it. But if you still can't get enough sport you'll find that the Internet is well up to the challenge of keeping you up to date with all the latest action. Here we've highlighted some of the major events in 10 top sports, together with the best sites the web can offer for all the latest news and information. Whatever the sport you're interested in, you'll find plenty of it on the net.

Golf

Tiger Woods is still the man everyone wants to beat, even though a recent downturn in fortunes saw the multiple major winner fail to defend his US Masters title at Augusta in April. Masters champion Mike Weir, the narrowly defeated Len Mattiace and sometime leader Jeff Maggert will all provide strong competition as the focus of world golf stays in the States for the US Open in Illinois (12-15 June). All eyes then turn to Royal St Georges in Kent for the 132nd Open Championship (17-20 July), where the Europeans will hope to put up a better performance than their rather lacklustre showing in the Masters. Check out the Open's official site at www.opengolf.com.

Formula 1

Michael Schumacher ended a barren spell with a win in the first European round at Imola, and with the new Ferrari due soon Schumacher and team mate Rubens Barrichello are set to play an ever larger role in 2003. But new rules this season have made competition fierce at the top of the championship, with the McLaren duo Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, and the Williams team's Ralf Schumacher and Juan-Pablo Montoya, all in the hunt. And you can't ignore the swift Fernando Alonso in the Renault, or a Jaguar that's finally showing some promise in the hands of Mark Webber. High spot for British fans will be Silverstone on 20 July, with the last round at Suzuka on 12 October. The net is packed with great F1 sites: try www.planet-f1.com.

Football

The tight battle at the top of the Premiership between Manchester United and Arsenal will have been resolved by the time you read this, and both the UEFA Cup and Champions League will be decided by the end of May – the latter without Man U, even though the final will be at Old Trafford. But if you're desperate for soccer action fear not – the new domestic season starts in the middle of August and in the meantime England face a Euro2004 group match with Slovakia on 11 June, and will be back in action in September (against Lichtenstein) and October (Turkey). For news on the Premiership race, the lower divisions and all the European club and national team action, it's hard to beat the very comprehensive www.football365.com.

World Rally

Consistent finishes have put Richard Burns at the top of the World Rally table, despite the Peugeot driver failing to win so far this season. Team mate and reigning champion Marcus Grönholm lies second after two wins, and looks ominously strong for the remainder of the season. British rally enthusiasts will look forward to the Rally of Great Britain in November, which as usual is the climax of the season – though there are rumours that next year's rally, in Wales, will move to a September slot for better weather. The championship's official site at www.wrc.com is an excellent way to keep up with all the news and results.

Athletics

There's a distinct 'changing of the guard' feeling in British athletics at the moment. The recent retirement of sprinter Colin Jackson has been followed by the news that another stalwart performer, Steve Backley, intends to hang up his javelin after next year's Olympic Games. Between now and then there's another major target, the World Championships in Paris in May. But don't worry that Britain has run out of world-class talent: Paula Radcliffe put in a stunning performance at the London Marathon in April, winning the event and shaving five seconds off the world record time. For athletics news and links to the websites of all the major events, see www.iaaf.org.

Snooker

By the time you read this the World Championship will be a distant memory and many minds in the snooker world will be thinking ahead to next year. Not because of any major tournament that's due, but instead because next year snooker loses an enormous amount of money thanks to the ending of tobacco sponsorship in new EU rules – though the Embassy World Championship itself is granted a year's grace. To follow all the action on and off the table take a look at worldsnooker.com, the official website of the sport's governing body, the World Snooker Association. Here you'll find tournament coverage (of the ladies' game, too) and world rankings.

Motorcycling

Can Shane Byrne turn his early British Superbike lead into a championship win? We'll know by September, when the top British championship finishes at Donington Park. On the world stage the action lasts a little longer, with the final round of the Superbike World Championship at Magny Cours, France on 19 October and the Moto GP series not finishing until 2 November, in Valencia. Neil Hodgson has made the early running in the Superbike World Championship, and it's no surprise that the amazing Valentino Rossi headed the field in the first Moto GP round, at Suzuka. Catch up with all the latest team news and race results at www.superbike-news.co.uk.

Cricket

It's a busy summer for England's cricketers, both in domestic competition and Test Matches. Surrey must be favourites for the County Championship, and will be looking for a fourth victory in five years. South Africa's tour here begins against Ireland on 18 June and then gets serious at the end of the month in a triangular one-day series also involving England and Zimbabwe, with the final on 12 July. The five-Test series that begins on 24 July is sure to be hard-fought, with England looking to perform well against a quality side after a disastrous Ashes tour in the winter. There's plenty of good cricket coverage on the net: try Channel 4's www.cricket4.com.

Rugby

The Rugby World Cup begins in Australia on 10 October, with the host nation facing Argentina in Sydney. The top two teams from each of four Pools advance to the next round. Ireland are drawn in Pool A alongside Australia. Scotland in Pool B must face Six Nations adversaries France. England will have a tough Pool C match against South Africa. Wales in Pool D look as though they have the biggest job to do, with competition from the mighty All Blacks and an Italy side that handed them the Six Nations wooden spoon. Our bet is for an Australia v England final in Sydney, on 22 November. Keep tabs on the championship – and find out if we're right – at www.scrum.com.

Tennis

The big event, as always, is the All England Lawn Tennis Championships – or just Wimbledon, if you prefer. Britain's biggest hopes, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, have both been hampered by injuries in recent weeks, and this season has been littered with top names missing tournaments through injury – so there may well be some significant gaps in the Wimbledon starting line-up. Injury has also been a factor in the decision of former Women's champion Martina Hingis to retire, at the age of 22. This year as ever the Stella Artois tournament at Queen's Club (9-15 June) will be closely scrutinised for clues to the top players' performance. Keep in touch with all the Wimbledon action at the official site, www.wimbledon.com.

All the sport

If you're looking for a single, all-encompassing site to give you information on all the sports you're interested in, then you're in luck – the net positively creaks at the seams, there are so many. One of the best is the dear old BBC, at news.bbc.co.uk/sport, with authoritative and continually updated coverage of all major sports. Alternatively, take a look at the very varied www.sportsnews.com or, if it's Stateside sports that interest you, the Basketball, Baseball and American Football-dominated www.si.com.

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Andrew Noakes motoring journalist / author / lecturer