US Open excites with opening marquee pairings

The world’s best-known golfer will find himself up against the best two players in the world when he tees off in the first round of this week’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Tiger Woods will be anything but over-awed but will need his ‘A’ game when he arrives at the first tee to play alongside world No 1 Dustin Johnson and world No 2 Justin Thomas for the first two rounds of the year’s second major championship.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: PGA Tour)

And it might just be enough to bring out the best in the former long-running world No 1.

Not that Johnson or Thomas will be too concerned as both have been in scintillating form this year and will be ready to out-hit Tiger on many holes.

Johnson in particular was stunning touch at last week’s St Jude Classic with a six-shot win and a magnificent holed second shot on the 72nd hole to seal the victory.

Here’s The Golf Channel’s look at some of the marquee pairings for this week’s Open:

7:51am Thursday (US time): Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel: Reed will play in a major as a major champ for the first time, as his Masters win in April ensures he’s the only person still in the running for the single-season Grand Slam. ;

8:02am Thursday: Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth: This is the close-but-not-quite trio, with all three men one leg short of the career Grand Slam. Only Mickelson can round it out at Shinnecock Hills, as he returns to the U.S. Open after skipping Erin Hills last year;

8:13am Thursday: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Rickie Fowler: This group will feature plenty of well-struck iron shots, with 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Fowler leading the charge;

1:14pm Thursday: Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Rafael Cabrera-Bello: This trio includes the only three Spaniards ranked inside the top 75 in the world, led by Rahm who missed the cut last year at Erin Hills but will have a chance to reach No. 1 next week;

1:47pm Thursday: Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas: Woods is a three-time tournament champ but is making his first appearance since 2015 and just his fourth since a T4 finish at Pebble Beach in 2010;