• Tiger, McIlroy, Scott to start US Open together

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    Tiger Woods

    ARDMORE, Pennsylvania: World No.1 Tiger Woods, second-ranked Rory McIlroy and reigning Masters champion Adam Scott will play alongside each other in the first two rounds at next week’s 113th US Open.

    The US Golf Association announced in a Twitter posting on Friday that Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, will join Scott and McIlroy off the first tee next Thursday at 1:14pm local time (1714 GMT).

    Third-ranked Scott, who became the first Australian to win a green jacket when he captured the title in April at Augusta National, and McIlroy, the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship winner, join Woods off the 11th tee next Friday at 7:44am (1344 GMT) for round two.

    “Decent group for the first 2 rounds at Merion I see . . .,” Northern Ireland’s McIlroy said in a Twitter posting of his own.

    Scott’s caddie is Steve Williams, the former caddie of Woods.

    Full pairings were announced later on Friday—the tournament will open Thursday morning at 6:45am (1045 GMT) with American Cliff Kresge starting off the first tee.

    Other groupings for the first two rounds that promise to command attention include the all-South African lineup of major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark, off the 11th tee Thursday at 7:33am (1133 GMT), and the trio behind them—Irishman Padraig Harrington, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and American Stewart Cink.

    Americans Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley tee off two groups ahead of the South Africans while Americans Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar and England’s Justin Rose are in the group between.

    Defending US Open champion Webb Simpson and fellow American Steven Fox, the reigning US Amateur champion, will tee off two groups behind the world’s three top-ranked golfers on Thursday alongside 2012 British Open champion Ernie Els.

    Just behind Woods, Scott and McIlroy will be Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

    The four groups ahead of the Woods-McIlroy-Scott trio will earn some attention as well, the first of them including major winners Darren Clarke, David Toms and Jose Maria Olazabal and the next featuring more major winners Angel Cabrera, Paul Lawrie and Geoff Ogilvy.

    England’s Luke Donald and Lee Westwood join Germany’s Martin Kaymer in the trio after that with the slot in front of the world’s top three taken by another major-winning trio — Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson.

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