Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been paired together for the first two rounds of the US Open Championship. As Australian Adam Scott will be the third member of the group, the top three in the world rankings will all play together before the weekend. The USGA have decided that the world’s top 12 players should be grouped together, spreading them over four time slots. Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Justin Rose will all play together, whilst another group will include Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and K.J. Choi. The final trio of the top dozen groupings will comprise Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Stewart Cink.
The decision is likely to cause problems for stewards and marshals, with huge crowds expected to follow each group. But Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competition for the USGA, explained: This year we got to thinking, ‘Isn’t it kind of crummy that we’ve never had the two guys ranked one and two in the world in the same wave. In absolute honestly, we haven’t done it for promotional reasons, but because these guys never get to play together. They have always been separated because of TV. We hope it’s positive.”
The USGA will reveal the full list of groupings and tee times later on Thursday. Traditionally, the defending US Open Champion, the Open Champion, and the US Amateur Champion play together in the first two rounds, but this cannot be the case this time, as Colt Knost, the Amateur Champion, has turned professional, and did not make the field.