Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, the world’s top-ranked player and one of the hottest players in golf, respectively, will be paired together for the first two rounds of the 2010 British Open.
The 150th Anniversary Open will tee off from historic St. Andrews on Thursday.
Woods has won the last two Open Championships staged at St. Andrews, but has struggled for most of the 2010 season on the heels of his off-the-course issues that first surfaced last November. His two best finishes in just six starts this year came in the first two major championships – tying for fourth at both the Masters and U.S. Open.
Rose, meanwhile, won Woods’ tournament two weeks ago, the AT&T National in suburban Philadelphia, and captured the Memorial Tournament last month with a tie for ninth in between at the Travelers Champion-ship.
Joining Woods and Rose for the first two rounds will be Camilo Villegas. The trio will tee off at 9:09 a.m. local time (3:09 a.m. CDT) on Thursday and at 8:20 a.m. CDT on Friday.
The first group of the tournament, starting at 12:30 a.m. CDT on Thursday, features 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, who came back from 10 shots on the final day to win at Carnoustie, as well as Thomas Levet and Steve Marino.
Defending Open champion Stewart Cink, who beat Tom Watson in a playoff last year at Turnberry, is paired with 2002 Open winner Ernie Els and Ian Poulter. They are scheduled to start at 2:42 a.m. CDT on Thursday and at 7:53 a.m. CDT on Friday.
Watson, the five-time winner of the Claret Jug, is back again and will play the first two rounds with 2007 and 2008 Open winner Padraig Harrington and Japanese teen Ryo Ishikawa. The group will tee off Thursday directly after Woods’ group at 3:20 a.m. CDT.
Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson, seeking his first Open title, will play his opening two rounds with two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie. They have an 8:20 a.m. CDT start on Thursday.
Graeme McDowell, who captured the U.S. Open title last month, will play with fellow U.S. Open champs Jim Furyk and Geoff Ogilvy, starting at 7:53 a.m. CDT.
Steve Stricker, coming off his win at the John Deere Classic this past weekend, is paired with Sergio Garcia and Hiroyuki Fujita. They’ll start at 8:09 a.m. CDT on Thursday.