US Open Championship - Woods, McIlroy, Scott grouped together

World number one Tiger Woods, second-ranked Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott will form a mouth-watering grouping for the first two rounds of next week's U.S. Open in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

US Open Championship - Woods, McIlroy, Scott grouped together

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Tiger Woods (L) and his playing partner, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy walk on the 14th fairway during second round play in the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship PGA golf tournament in Doral, Florida March 8, 2013. (Reuters)

For the third consecutive year, the top three players in the world rankings have been drawn together at the year's second Major, a popular ploy that generates plenty of hype and attracts huge galleries during tournament week.

Woods, who will be seeking his first Major title since he won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in a play-off, is a heavy favourite for the June 13-16 championship at Merion Golf Club after winning four times in eight starts on the 2013 PGA Tour.

American Woods, Northern Irishman McIlroy, who won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, and Australian Scott will start Thursday's opening round at Merion off the first tee at 13:14 local time (18:14 UK).

The heavyweight trio will then set off from the 11th tee at 07:44 in Friday's second round.

In keeping with tradition, tournament officials have placed defending champion Webb Simpson in the same group as the Open champion and the reigning U.S. Amateur winner.

American Simpson will tee off from the first hole at 13:36 on Thursday in the company of South African Ernie Els, a twice former U.S. Open champion, and amateur Steven Fox.

In other high-profile groupings, former world number ones Luke Donald and Lee Westwood of England have been paired up with Martin Kaymer of Germany while U.S. Ryder Cup players Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson will play alongside fellow long hitter Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.

South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark have been grouped together, as have leading Americans Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley.

American world number four Matt Kuchar, among the favourites at Merion after winning last week's Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, will tee off with fifth-ranked Englishman Justin Rose and sixth-ranked American Brandt Snedeker.

Simpson will defend the title he clinched by one shot last year at Olympic Club outside San Francisco after overhauling overnight leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.

Intriguingly, former champions Furyk (2003) and McDowell (2010) have been grouped together at Merion, with American Zach Johnson, in a trio of medium-length hitters.

US Open groupings (first time listed is for opening round, times are all local, add four hours for GMT, players U.S. unless noted, a- denotes amateur):

Thursday (June 13), first hole/Friday (June 14), 11th hole

0645/1245 - Cliff Kresge, Roger Tambellini, To be determined

0656/1256 - To be determined, Yui Ueda (Japan), John Parry (England)

0707/1307 - Nick Watney, Peter Hanson (Sweden), Hunter Mahan

0718/1318 - Lucas Glover, Paul Casey (England), Bill Haas

0729/1329 - Aaron Baddeley (Australia), Rory Sabbatini (South Africa), David Lingmerth (Sweden)

0740/1340 - George Coetzee (South Africa), Martin Laird (Scotland), Marcel Siem (Germany)

0751/1351 - Jerry Kelly, Charley Hoffman, John Huh

0802/1402 - Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Ryan Moore, Robert Garrigus

0813/1413 - To be determined, Simon Khan (England), Ted Potter Jr.

0824/1424 - Shawn Stefani, a-Michael Kim, Nicholas Thompson

0835/1435 - Chris Doak (Scotland), Andrew Svoboda, Douglas LaBelle II

0846/1446 - Kevin Sutherland, Matt Weibring, Randall Hutchison

0857/1457 - a-Cory McElyea, Ryan Nelson, John Hahn

Thursday (June 13) 11th hole/Friday (June 14) first hole

0700/1230 - Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium)

0711/1241 - Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley

0722/1252 - Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose (England), Brandt Snedeker

0733/1303 - Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Tim Clark (South Africa)

0744/1314 - Sergio Garcia (Spain), Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington (Ireland)

0755/1325 - Ian Poulter (England), Jason Dufner, Boo Weekley

0806/1336 - Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero (Italy), Jason Day (Australia)

0817/1347 - Yang Yong-eun (South Korea), Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden), Hiroyuki Fujita (Japan)

0828/1358 - Scott Stallings, John Peterson, Robert Karlsson (Sweden)

0839/1409 - Jay Don Blake, Brandt Jobe, Michael Campbell (New Zealand)

0850/1420 - David Hearn (Canada), To be determined, Jaco Van Zyl (South Africa)

0901/1431 - a-Kevin Phelan (Ireland), Wil Collins, To be determined

0912/1442 - a-Pan Cheng-tsung, (Taiwan), Mackenzie Hughes (Canada), Geoffrey Sisk

Thursday (June 13) first hole/Friday (June 14) 11th hole

1230/0700 - David Toms, Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland), Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain)

1241/0711 - Geoff Ogilvy (Australia), Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Paul Lawrie (Scotland)

1252/0722 - Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Martin Kaymer (Germany)

1303/0733 - Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Zach Johnson

1314/0744 - Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Adam Scott (Australia)

1325/0755 - Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain), Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark)

1336/0806 - Webb Simpson, a-Steven Fox, Ernie Els (South Africa)

1347/0817 - To be determined, Joe Ogilvie, Luke Guthrie

1358/0828 - Josh Teater, Yoshinobu Tsukada (Japan), Eddie Pepperell (England)

1409/0839 - Edward Loar, Morten Orum Madsen (Denmark), Hwang Jung-gon (South Korea)

1420/0850 - a-Max Homa, Russell Knox (Scotland), Matt Bettencourt

1431/0901 - Adam Hadwin (Canada), John Nieporte, Jim Herman

1442/0912 - Brandon Brown, a-Grayson Murray, Jesse Smith

Thursday (June 13) 11th hole/Friday (June 14) first hole

1245/0645 - Justin Hicks, David Howell (England), Brian Stuard

1256/0656 - Brendan Steele, Estanislao Goya (Argentina), Peter Hedblom (Sweden)

1307/0707 - Marc Leishman (Australia), John Senden (Australia), Marcus Fraser (Australia)

1318/0718 - Scott Langley, a-Chris Williams, Morgan Hoffmann

1329/0729 - Michael Thompson, a-Michael Weaver, Casey Wittenberg

1340/0740 - K.J. Choi (South Korea), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Carl Pettersson (Sweden)

1351/0751 - Scott Piercy, Kevin Chappell, Jamie Donaldson (Wales)

1402/0802 - Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points

1413/0813 - Branden Grace (South Africa), Bae Sang-moon (South Korea), Russell Henley

1424/0824 - Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Billy Horschel, Jordan Spieth

1435/0835 - Mathew Goggin (Australia), Steven Alker (New Zealand), Alistair Presnell (Australia)

1446/0846 - Matt Harmon, a-Gavin Hall, Bio Kim (South Korea)

1457/0857 - Zack Fischer, Ryan Sullivan, Brandon Crick

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