Tiger-Thomas-Johnson, Mickelson-McIlroy-Spieth headline U.S. Open groups

The biggest names in golf will be packed into a handful of featured groups when the 118th U.S. Open begins next Thursday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

Playing in his first U.S. Open since 2015, three-time champion Tiger Woods will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET on Thursday alongside the world’s first- and second-ranked players, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, respectively. Johnson spent 64 weeks holding the top spot in the world rankings from February of 2017 until this past May, when Thomas grabbed the honor for the first time in his career.

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will be paired together for the first two rounds of the 2018 U.S. Open. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Woods has held the title on 10 different occasions for a total of 683 weeks at the top, more than double any other player (Greg Norman, 331) and more than seven times the third-most ever (Nick Faldo, 97). Woods, whose last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. Open, currently ranks 80th in the world after starting the year at No. 656.

That threesome is scheduled to get an earlier start in Round 2, teeing off 8:02 a.m. Friday.

Two other marquee groups will get going early Thursday morning, beginning with defending champion Brooks Koepka, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and former world No. 1 Jason Day at 7:40 a.m. Day and Koepka currently rank eighth and ninth, respectively, in the world, while Watson sits 19th.

Teeing off 22 minutes later on the back nine will be six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson, 2014 champion Rory McIlroy and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth. Spieth and McIlroy currently sit fifth and sixth, respectively, in the rankings. Mickelson, who ranks 20th and needs the U.S. Open to complete a career grand slam, finished second most recently in 2013 to Justin Rose.

Between the Koepka-Watson-Day and Mickelson-McIlroy-Spieth groupings will be a trio of Masters champions, as Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel are set to tee off at 7:51 a.m. Thursday.

Among other notable groupings is a trio of Spaniards, with world No. 4 Jon Rahm, 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera Bello starting at 1:14 p.m. on Thursday.

The first grouping of the 156-player field will get started at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, with all rounds expected to be underway by 2:42 p.m.

–Field Level Media

Leave a Reply