June 7, 2018 / 7:55 PM / 6 months ago

Tiger grouped with Thomas and Johnson at U.S. Open

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds at next week’s U.S. Open with world number one Justin Thomas and number two Dustin Johnson, the U.S. Golf Association announced on Thursday.

Jun 3, 2018; Dublin, OH, USA; Tiger Woods drives the ball down the ninth fairway during the final round of The Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Woods will begin his quest for a fourth U.S. Open title at 1.47 PM local time (1747 GMT) at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York.

Woods has won 14 major championships, but has not had a victory since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

He also won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the 2002 championship at Bethpage.

The 42-year-old has shown glimpses of his old brilliance this year after a successful spinal fusion last April, but he is still seeking his first tournament victory since 2013.

The Woods, Thomas, Johnson threesome will be the highest-profile grouping among the players who start late on Thursday and early on Friday.

On the other side of the draw, the group of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson will tee off at 8.02 AM local time on Thursday.

Mickelson needs to win the U.S. Open to complete the career grand slam of all four modern majors. Speith won the championship in 2015, McIlroy in 2011.

The Spieth, McIlroy, Mickelson threesome will be immediately preceded by a group of Masters champions, the current titleholder Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel.

Also out early, defending champion Brooks Koepka will tee off at 7.40 AM local time, accompanied by two-times Masters champion Bubba Watson and former world number one Jason Day.

Seven of the world’s 10 top-ranked players are in the same half of the draw, with Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama also playing early Thursday/late Friday.

World number four Jon Rahm is the only top-10 player apart from Thomas and Johnson who will start late and then early.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Larry King

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