Graeme McDowell will begin the defence of his US open crown in the company of Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Uihlein.
In keeping with tradition the Northern Irishman will tee off with the reigning British open Champion Oosthuizen as well as the defending US Amateur Uihlein, who is the top ranked amateur in the world.
McDowell will begin his defence at 7.55am US time (12.55pm Irish time) from the 1st tee.
However the threesome was overshadowed by two other groupings that will have the television cameras in a tizzy with the world’s top three players as Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer were all grouped together.
The trio will tee off at 1.06pm Irish time on Thursday from the unusual starting position of the 10th hole, a par three over the water, this is due to the fact that the United States Golf Association, which stages the Open, uses a two-tee format, typical on the PGA Tour, since the 2002 Open at Bethpage Black.
At 6.35pm Thursday Irish time all eyes and lens will again be on the 10th Tee as four time major winner Phil Michelson, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy all tee off together.
McIlroy will be playing his first major since he led The Masters by four entering the closing round only to crash out of contention in dramatic fashion with an 80.
Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has said that Tiger Woods absence from the US Open means that other players feel they have a better chance of winning the tournament.
“It’s obviously not great for the golf tournament – it would have been great to see him play”, said McIlroy.
“But I suppose it leaves the door a little bit open for a few of the guys. Every time you have Tiger in the field you’ve got to think that he’s going to have a good chance. To have one of the main contenders not here gives the rest of us a little bit more of a chance”.
Woods has yet to recover from the knee injury that has troubled him all season and McIlroy agrees that he made the right decision in not lining up this week:
“You have to take care of your health before anything else.It was apparent that his body still isn’t in a good enough place to play competitive golf. Hopefully he gets back on the course soon, but he still looked like he was in quite a lot of pain in the nine holes he played at The Players”.
McIlroy has been attempting to put his US Masters meltdown behind him and admitted that he was trying to look the situation and find the best views of it:
“I took the positives from the week – there weren’t many to take from the Sunday. It’s hard. It was my first time in that situation, you’re going to be feeling the pressure a little bit and I certainly did. You’re in with a great chance to win your first major and it just doesn’t happen. You just move on – that’s all you can do. It’s not the end of the world”.
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