Tiger Woods has been grouped with the top two players in the world rankings for the first two rounds of his return to the US Open next week.
Woods will play alongside Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson for 36 holes at Shinnecock Hills, while six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson will begin his latest quest to complete a career grand slam of majors with former winners Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
Thomas became world No 1 for the first time last month when a strong finish to The Players Championship ended the 64-week reign of Johnson, who can reclaim top spot with a big
The American rivals will head to the first tee atÂ 6:47pm (BST)Â on ThursdayÂ along with Woods, who has not played in the second major of the year since he suffered a humiliating early exit at Chambers Bay three years ago.
Woods did not manage to break 80 on the first day and followed with a 76 to finish way down the field on 16 over – his worst 36-hole score in his major career.
The year’s US Open also marks the 10th anniversary of Woods’ 14th, and most recent, major victory, when he memorably played through the pain to edge out Rocco Mediate in aÂ MondayÂ play-off, which was also the last time the tournament required extra holes.
McIlroy missed out on completing a full set of majors following a disappointing final round at the Masters in April, and he will partner the two players next in line to have a chance to achieve the grand slam.
Mickelson will hope to atone for his series of near misses in the tournament, including the last time it was played at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, while Spieth is missing only the PGA Championship, currently held by his close-friend Thomas.
Brooks Koepka, an impressive four-shot winner at Erin Hills last year, will begin the defence of his title alongside two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and former world No 1 Jason Day.
Koepka, Watson and Day tee off the first atÂ 12:40pm, while the next group out features the all-English trio of Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter.