Mid-morning start for Spieth at Open

Jordan Spieth AFP PHOTO

Jordan Spieth AFP PHOTO

ST ANDREWS, United Kingdom: Jordan Spieth will open his bid to become just the second player to win the first three majors of the year at St Andrews on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in the company of fellow American Dustin Johnson and Japan’s top player Hideki Matsuyama.

The 21-year-old Texan, who won the John Deere Classic on Sunday, has already captured the Masters and US Open crowns, and a win Sunday in the British Open would equal the feat only ever achieved before by Ben Hogan in 1953.

The irony of Spieth playing with Johnson is that last month at Chambers Bay, John¬son had a 12-foot putt on the 72nd hole to win the US Open, but saw his eagle attempt slide four feet past the hole.

He then missed the birdie attempt to force a play-off with Spieth who duly won.

The threesome will head out onto the Old Course at 9:33 a.m. (0833GMT) to be followed 22 minutes later by Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day.

Woods won the Open at St Andrews in 2000 by eight strokes and in 2005 by five strokes, while South African Oosthuizen triumphed by seven strokes the last time it was held at the Old Course in 2010.Australian Day has come close to winning a major on several occasions, most recently at the US Open when he collapsed on the final hole of his second round due to an attack of vertigo.

He completed the hole and the tournament, taking a share of the lead into the final round before finishing joint ninth.

In the afternoon groupings from Monday’s draw, 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson heads out alongside fellow American Matt Kuchar, who tied for second Sunday at the Scottish Open and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, still seeking his first major title.

Immediately following them will be Nick Faldo, the three-time Open champion who has said he will be playing the tournament for a final time, and Justin Rose, aiming to become the first English winner since Faldo in 1992.

They will be joined by Rickie Fowler, the 26-year-old American, flush from his win Sunday in the Scottish Open at Gullane.

Five-time champion Tom Watson gets his final Open appearance under way at 8:33 a.m. alongside 2012 winner Ernie Els and American Brandt Snedeker, the R&A having granted the 65-year-old a special exemption.

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn will hit the first shot at 6:32 a.m., with the final group of Japan’s Teshima Taichi, England’s Robert Dinwiddie and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg teeing off at 4:13 p.m.



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