MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Defending champion Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds of the U.S. Open with Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera, giving fans at Bethpage Black a chance to see the reigning champions of all four majors.
Harrington won the British Open and the PGA Championship last year, while Cabrera won the Masters in April.
U.S. Open officials decided against grouping the top three players in the world ranking, as they did last year at Torrey Pines (pictured). That would have put Woods with sentimental favorite Phil Mickelson for the second straight year, joined by Paul Casey.
Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competition for the USGA, told The Associated Press last week that a Woods-Mickelson pairing was an experiment, and it made sense to try it at Torrey Pines, where both played much of their junior golf.
Mickelson, who only decided to play the U.S. Open last week while his wife battles cancer, will have a mixed bag of memories in his grouping. He will play with Ernie Els, whom he beat by one shot for his first major victory at the 2004 Masters; and Retief Goosen, who beat Mickelson in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills the last time the U.S. Open was held on Long Island.
The rest of the grouping were a mixture of countries and colleges, identical surnames and young stars.
Rickie Fowler, an amateur from Oklahoma State, is to hit the first tee shot next Thursday on No. 1 and will have some alumni at his side. He is playing with Casey Wittenberg and Bo Van Pelt, who both played for the Cowboys.
The all-Clemson group can be found on the first tee at 1:03 p.m. on Thursday when Lucas Glover, D.J. Trahan and Kyle Stanley tee it up. Stanley, who will turn pro after the Open, qualified this week in Ohio.
Vijay Singh will be in the same group with Jeev Milkha Singh. Players often say they’re in jail when they find themselves in trouble on the golf course, so this will at least sound like it.
U.S. Senior Open champion Eduardo Romero will be playing with Andres Romero, both from Argentina, not related. The USGA was able to mix-and-match with the grouping of Soren Kjeldsen, Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson.
The heartache group includes Kenny Perry, who has lost two majors in a playoff; Rocco Mediate, the runner-up at the U.S. Open last year after a 19-hole playoff against Woods; and Tom Lehman, who played in the final pairing at the U.S. Open four straight years in the 1990s without ever winning.
Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas and Adam Scott — all in their 20s and good friends — will be in the same group, but the star power of youth might come from a group that includes 23-year-old Anthony Kim and 20-year-old Rory McIlroy, both among the top 20 in the world. Joining them will be Dustin Johnson, a 24-year-old who has won twice since September.
Bethpage Black is a big, tough course at 7,246 yards, and one group should have the length to handle it. That includes J.B. Holmes and Alvaro Quiros of Spain, two of the longest hitters in golf.
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Pairings for Rounds 1 and 2 of the U.S. Open, to be played June 18-21 at Bethpage State Park (Black) in Farmingdale, N.Y.:
Thursday: No. 1; Friday: No. 10
7:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – a-Rickie Fowler, Murrieta, Calif.; Casey Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn.; Bo Van Pelt, Tulsa, Okla.
7:11 a.m.-12:41 p.m. – a-Drew Weaver, High Point, N.C.; Angelo Que, Philippines; Simon Khan, England.
7:22 a.m.-12:52 p.m. – David Horsey, England; John Mallinger, Long Beach, Calif.; Jose Manuel Lara, Spain.
7:33 a.m.-1:03 p.m. – Rory Sabbatini, South Africa; Martin Kaymer, Germany; Ryuji Imada, Japan.
7:44 a.m.-1:14 p.m. – Vijay Singh, Fiji; Jeev Milkha Singh, India; KJ Choi, South Korea.
7:55 a.m.-1:25 p.m. – Ian Poulter, England; Justin Leonard, Dallas; Robert Allenby, Australia.
8:06 a.m.-1:36 p.m. – Padraig Harrington, Ireland; Angel Cabrera, Argentina; Tiger Woods, Windermere, Fla.
8:17 a.m.-1:47 p.m. – Ryan Moore, Spanaway, Wash.; Ben Crane, Beaverton, Ore.; Eric Axley, Knoxville, Tenn.
8:28 a.m.-1:58 p.m. – Lee Westwood, England; Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; David Erdy, Boonville, Ind.
8:39 a.m.-2:09 p.m. – Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; Johan Edfors, Sweden; John Merrick, Modesto, Calif.
8:50 a.m.-2:20 p.m. – Francesco Molinari, Italy; George McNeill, Fort Myers, Fla.; Simon Dyson, England.
9:01 a.m.-2:31 p.m. – a-Cameron Tringale, Laguna Niguel, Calif.; Sean Farren, Locust Valley, N.Y.; Andrew Parr, Canada.
9:12 a.m.-2:42 p.m. – a-Vaughn Snyder, Massillon, Ohio; Ryan Spears, Del City, Okla.; Michael Miles, Huntington Beach, Calif.
12:30 p.m.-7:00 a.m. – James Nitties, Australia; Peter Tomasulo, Long Beach, Calif.; Martin Laird, Scotland.
12:41 p.m.-7:11 a.m. – David Smail, New Zealand; Cameron Beckman, San Antonio; Steve Allan, Australia.
12:52 p.m.-7:22 a.m. – J J Henry, Fort Worth, Texas; Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Spain; Briny Baird, Palm City, Fla.
1:03 p.m.-7:33 a.m. – a-Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor, Wash.; Lucas Glover, Greenville, S.C.; DJ Trahan, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
1:14 p.m.-7:44 a.m. – J B Holmes, Campbellsville, Ky.; Alvaro Quiros, Spain; Nick Watney, Las Vegas.
1:25 p.m.-7:55 a.m. – Sergio Garcia, Spain; Camilo Villegas, Colombia; Adam Scott, Australia.
1:36 p.m.-8:06 a.m. – Justin Rose, England; Sean O’Hair, West Chester, Pa.; Ross Fisher, England.
1:47 p.m.-8:17 a.m. – Rocco Mediate, Los Angeles; Kenny Perry, Franklin, Ky.; Tom Lehman, Scottsdale, Ariz.
1:58 p.m.-8:28 a.m. – Hunter Mahan, Plano, Texas; Oliver Wilson, England; Brandt Snedeker, Nashville, Tenn.
2:09 p.m.-8:39 a.m. – Billy Mayfair, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Matt Kuchar, Atlanta; Ricky Barnes, Phoenix.
2:20 p.m.-8:50 a.m. – Darron Stiles, Pinehurst, N.C.; Shintaro Kai, Japan; Matthew Jones, Australia.
2:31 p.m.-9:01 a.m. – a-Tyson Alexander, Gainesville, Fla.; Charlie Beljan, Mesa, Ariz.; Ryan Blaum, Coral Gables, Fla.
2:42 p.m.-9:12 a.m. – a-Matt Nagy, Buena Vista, Ga.; Shawn Stefani, Baytown, Texas; Douglas Batty, New Zealand.
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Thursday: No. 10; Friday: No. 1
7:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – J P Hayes, El Paso, Texas; Greg Kraft, Belleair, Fla.; Jeff Brehaut, Los Altos, Calif.
7:11 a.m.-12:41 p.m. – a-Drew Kittleson, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sangmoon Bae, South Korea; Michael Sim, Australia.
7:22 a.m.-12:52 p.m. – Heath Slocum, Alpharetta, Ga.; Charlie Wi, South Korea; Richard Bland, England.
7:33 a.m.-1:03 p.m. – Ben Curtis, Stow, Ohio; Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Chad Campbell, Andrews, Texas.
7:44 a.m.-1:14 p.m. – Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Andrew Svoboda, Larchmont, N.Y.; Steve Stricker, Madison, Wis.
7:55 a.m.-1:25 p.m. – Geoff Ogilvy, Australia; Jim Furyk, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Paul Casey, England.
8:06 a.m.-1:36 p.m. – Luke Donald, England; Clinton Jensen, Jupiter, Fla.; Tim Clark, South Africa.
8:17 a.m.-1:47 p.m. – Andres Romero, Argentina; Eduardo Romero, Argentina; Miguel Angel Jimenez, Spain.
8:28 a.m.-1:58 p.m. – Michael Campbell, New Zealand; Boo Weekley, Jay, Fla.; Rod Pampling, Australia.
8:39 a.m.-2:09 p.m. – Kevin Sutherland, Sacramento, Calif.; a-Scott Lewis, Goleta, Calif.; Ken Duke, Palm City, Fla.
8:50 a.m.-2:20 p.m. – a-Bronson Burgoon, The Woodlands, Texas; Craig Bowden, Bloomington, Ind.; Chris Kirk, Sea Island, Ga.
9:01 a.m.-2:31 p.m. – a-Ben Martin, Greenwood, S.C.; Josh McCumber, Tampa, Fla.; Kevin Silva, New Bedford, Mass.
9:12 a.m.-2:42 p.m. – a-Josh Brock, Wilmington, N.C.; Trevor Murphy, St. Johnsbury, Vt.; Nathan Tyler, Tucson, Ariz.
12:30 p.m.-7:00 a.m. – Matt Bettencourt, Greenville, S.C.; James Kamte, South Africa; Kaname Yokoo, Japan.
12:41 p.m.-7:11 a.m. – a-Nick Taylor, Canada; Scott Gutschewski, Omaha, Neb.; Gary Woodland, Topeka, Kan.
12:52 p.m.-7:22 a.m. – Carl Pettersson, Sweden; Azuma Yano, Japan; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa.
1:03 p.m.-7:33 a.m. – David Duval, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; David Toms, Shreveport, La.; Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland.
1:14 p.m.-7:44 a.m. – Anthony Kim, Los Angeles; Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland; Dustin Johnson, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
1:25 p.m.-7:55 a.m. – Soren Kjeldsen, Denmark; Soren Hansen, Denmark; Peter Hanson, Sweden.
1:36 p.m.-8:06 a.m. – Retief Goosen, South Africa; Ernie Els, South Africa; Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
1:47 p.m.-8:17 a.m. – Stuart Appleby, Australia; Fred Funk, Ponte Vedra, Fla.; Todd Hamilton, Westlake, Texas.
1:58 p.m.-8:28 a.m. – Mike Weir, Canada; Stephen Ames, Canada; Stewart Cink, Duluth, Ga.
2:09 p.m.-8:39 a.m. – Thomas Levet, France; Jean-Francois Lucquin, France; Raphael Jacquelin, France.
2:20 p.m.-8:50 a.m. – Andrew McLardy, South Africa; Chris Stroud, Houston; Brian Gay, Fort Worth, Texas.
2:31 p.m.-9:01 a.m. – a-Clark Klaasen, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Colby Beckstrom, Muskegon, Mich.; Cameron Yancey, Blackstone, Va.
2:42 p.m.-9:12 a.m. – a-Kyle Peterman, Springfield, Ill.; Michael Welch, Quincy, Mass.; Cortland Lowe, Augusta, Ga.