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US Open – Woods grouped with Harrington

American Woods, US Masters champion Cabrera of Argentina and Irishman Harrington are scheduled to tee off on the first hole at 0806 (1306 BST) in…

American Woods, US Masters champion Cabrera of Argentina and Irishman Harrington are scheduled to tee off on the first hole at 0806 (1306 BST) in Thursday’s opening round at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York.

The heavyweight trio will start from the 10th tee at 1336 (1836 BST) in Friday’s second round.

Woods, who clinched last year’s US Open in a gripping 19-hole playoff with Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines outside San Diego, is heavy favourite to win the second Major championship of the year.

Although he was sidelined for eight months after his Torrey Pines victory while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, he has triumphed twice in seven US Tour starts this season, including the Memorial tournament on Sunday.

Woods won the US Open when it was first held at Bethpage in 2002 and will be bidding for his fourth success in the tournament next week.

“It was nice to play this well going into the US Open,” the 33-year-old said after winning the Memorial tournament by a shot in Dublin, Ohio.

“This is how you have to hit it in order to win US Opens, especially Bethpage. That golf course is as big as they come. You have to hit the ball well all week. I did that in 2002, and that was one of the reasons why I was up there.”

American world number two Phil Mickelson, who finished second behind Woods at the 2002 US Open, has been grouped with twice champions Ernie Els and Retief Goosen of South Africa for the first two rounds.

Other notable threesomes include British world number three Paul Casey, Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy and American Jim Furyk; Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Colombian Camilo Villegas and Australia’s Adam Scott; and Fijian Vijay Singh, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and South Korea’s KJ Choi.