Woods, McIlroy, Scott together at US Open

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Tiger Woods, left, talks with Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, as they wait to hit on the 12th hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

ARDMORE, Pennsylvania  — Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will play together the opening two rounds of the U.S. Open next week at Merion.

For the third straight year, U.S. Open officials have put the top three players in the world ranking in the same group. The feature group will start at 1:14 p.m. Thursday off the first tee, and then 7:44 a.m. starting on the 11th tee Friday.

The U.S. Open disclosed the Nos. 1-2-3 group in a tweet, and McIlroy immediately responded on Twitter.

“Decent group for the first 2 rounds at Merion I see …” he tweeted.

Woods is trying to end five years without a major title. McIlroy, who has yet to win this year, will be trying to capture a major for the third straight year. Scott is the Masters champion, the only player capable of the Grand Slam this year.

This will be the first time Woods and McIlroy have played together in any round of a major. They have played in the opening two rounds together at five previous tournaments — twice in Abu Dhabi, the Cadillac Championship at Doral this year (won by Woods), the BMW Championship last year (won by

McIlroy) and The Barclays last year.

The USGA first went to the 1-2-3 grouping in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — Woods, San Diego native Phil Mickelson and Scott.

Playing in front of that threesome will be former U.S. Open champions Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, and former Masters champion Zach Johnson.

Mickelson is on the other side of the draw — starting Thursday morning on the 11th hole, Friday afternoon on the first hole. Mickelson, with a record five runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, is joined by Steve Stricker and Keegan Bradley, his partner from the last Ryder Cup.

In front of that group will be the power trio of Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts.

For those wanting to see Woods and Sergio Garcia mix it up again, that won’t happen, at least for the weekday rounds. Garcia might not be thrilled with his tee, however, because he’s playing with Padraig Harrington and Stewart Cink. Garcia and Harrington, despite being Ryder Cup teammates, are not terribly close. Harrington beat the Spaniard in a playoff at Carnoustie to win his first major in the 2007 British Open, and the Irishman beat him again a year later in the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer are in another group, just as they were two years ago at Congressional.

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