Tiger Woods will be making his first US Open appearance since 2015 when he tees it up at Shinnecock Hills next week. And he’ll do so flanked by the No.1 and No.2 players in the world.
The USGA announced its first and second round pairings for the 118th US Open Championship on Thursday, highlighted by the supergroup of Woods, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. Tiger will be seeking his fourth US Open title, his last coming in 2008 at Torrey Pines, and 15th Major overall, although he has not posted a top-10 at the tournament since 2010. Johnson missed the cut in last year’s title defence at Erin Hills, while Thomas tied a US Open record with a Saturday 63 at the Wisconsin venue. The trio goes off on Thursday at 1:47pm (New York time) and Friday at 8:02am.
This was not the only power pairing from the USGA. Phil Mickelson, the perennial Charlie Brown of the US Open, will try to kick that elusive football with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy in tow. Spieth and McIlroy have US Opens under their belt, although both have struggled since their titles: Spieth has not cracked the top 30 in the last two years, while McIlroy has a lone top 10 since his Congressional victory in 2011. Mickelson, Spieth, and McIlroy begin at 8:02am on Thursday and 1:47pm on Friday.
Other marquee groups include reigning US Open champ Brooks Koepka with Bubba Watson and Jason Day; a Spanish trifecta of Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello; fan favourite Rickie Fowler going with Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman and green jacket winner Patrick Reed playing with Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel.
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox begins his first US Open at 12:30pm from the 10th tee, playing alongside Australia’s Matt Jones and Japan’s Shota Akiyoshi.
Tim Wilkinson, the other Kiwi in the field, has a morning tee-time on Thursday at 8:46am off the 10th tee. He will play with American amateur Shintaro Ban and Korean Sung Joon Park.
The US Open begins on June 14th. It will be the championship’s fifth visit to Shinnecock Hills.