• US Open

British trio grouped at US Open

ESPN staff
June 8, 2012

Rory McIlroy will launch his US Open title defence alongside English duo Lee Westwood and Luke Donald after the world's top three golfers were grouped together at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

McIlroy, who won his first major at Congressional in 2011 with a tournament record score of 16-under, has traded the world No. 1 spot with Donald several times this season, with Westwood just behind the pair in the rankings.

The Northern Irishman heads to California on the back of a woeful run of results that has seen him miss the cut in his last three tournaments, although he will be hoping for a return to form at the St Jude Classic in Memphis this week.

Tiger Woods has been grouped with Phil Mickelson and Masters champion Bubba Watson. The last time Woods and Mickelson played together, Woods won the 2008 US Open - the last of his 14 majors.

The world number four is the bookies' favourite following his fifth Memorial Tournament victory this month, equalling Jack Nicklaus's total of 73 PGA Tour titles.

Woods, Mickelson and world number five Watson will get under way at 14:33 BST on Thursday, while the British trio of McIlroy, Westwood and Donald tee off later at 20:29 BST.

Former US Open champions Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera will tee off together, while world No. 6 Matt Kuchar - who won best amateur at the Olympic Club when it last hosted the US Open in 1998 - heads round with fellow American Steve Stricker and England's Ian Poulter.

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