Woods paired with Westwood, Els at U.S. Open

June 13, 2010

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Pebble Beach, CA – Tiger Woods will be paired with Lee Westwood and Ernie Els for the first two rounds of next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, returning to the course where he recorded a historic 15-shot win in 2000.

In a featured group of recent major champions, Masters winner Phil Mickelson will play the first two rounds with Padraig Harrington and Y.E. Yang.

Defending champion Lucas Glover, who won a rain-soaked U.S. Open last year at Bethpage Black, is in a threesome with reigning British Open winner Stewart Cink and 2009 U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An.

Woods’ group will tee off on the first hole at 1:36 p.m. local time (4:36 p.m. ET) on Thursday, placing them squarely in the prime-time coverage window for TV viewers on the East Coast.

Mickelson’s group will go off at 8:06 a.m. local time from the 10th tee, then from the first tee in the afternoon on Friday, giving them prime-time East Coast coverage for the second round.

Like Mickelson, Harrington is a multiple major champion, while Yang is the defending PGA Championship winner, having knocked off Woods in the final round last year.

Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff in the last U.S. Open held on the West Coast, the 2008 championship at Torrey Pines, which drew good TV ratings as Woods battled to an epic win on a badly-injured leg.

It marked Woods’ third U.S. Open win. His first came in 2000 at Pebble Beach, when he led from start to finish and was the only player under par after four rounds.

Woods will make just his fifth start of the season as he continues to play his way back from a sex scandal that dynamited his personal life and a neck injury that forced him to withdraw from The Players Championship last month.

The world No. 1 tied for fourth place in his season debut at the Masters, missed the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship, withdrew at Sawgrass and tied for 19th place at the Memorial Tournament in his last start.

Meanwhile, Mickelson captured his third Masters win in April for his only victory of the year so far.

Lefty has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open five times, including last year at Bethpage Black, where he tied for second place with David Duval and Ricky Barnes.

Glover scratched together a four-under 276 on the Black Course last year to win his first career major by two shots. The championship went to a Monday finish because of persistent rain that kept any round from finishing on the same day it started.

Among the other marquee threesomes for the first two rounds, former U.S. Open champions Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera will play together, while young stars Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa have been paired with 60-year-old Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.


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