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QUICK TAKE: Groups To Watch At The Open Championship

Dustin Johnson waits with his caddie Austin during a practice round at the Open Championship. (Photo: Andrew Yates, Reuters)

The 147th Open Championship is about to get under way at Carnoustie, a brute of a course that promises to punish some of the best players in the world.

Unlike most other tournaments, the Open Championship tends to space out the best players in the game rather than putting them together in groups. There are no “super groups” for Thursday and Friday’s threesomes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t inspire intrigue.

Here are our favorite games to watch for the first two rounds:

Jordan Spieth-Justin Rose-Kiradech Aphibarnrat

The defending champion Spieth will be hard-pressed to recreate last year’s magic given the winless year he’s endured thus far, but never count out the young Texan. Rose is tied for the third-best odds to win the Claret Jug – he finished tied for 12th back in 2007 at Carnoustie – and Aphibarnrat is coming off of a solo 15th place finish at the U.S. Open last month.

Dustin Johnson-Alex Norén-Charley Hoffman

You can call this the front-runner group as all three are no strangers to leading major championships. Johnson had one hand on the U.S. Open trophy before a dreadful Saturday at Shinnecock derailed his major plans. Norén comes in at No. 11 in the world having just won the Open de France and Hoffman has two top-20s in majors this year.

Jon Rahm-Rickie Fowler-Chris Wood

Rahm has been quietly productive this year, winning the CareerBuilder Challenge back in January, capturing the Open de Espana on home turf and finishing fourth at the Masters. Fowler is still looking for his first major after another heartbreaking close call at Augusta earlier this year – he has three top-5s in his last five majors. Wood has been fairly quiet since making the European Ryder Cup team in 2016, but he did play well in the Open Championship last year, finishing tied for 14th.

Tiger Woods-Hideki Matsuyama-Russell Knox

Woods’ 2018 campaign has to be deemed a wild success to this point given where he was this time last year. He has seven top-25 finishes in 11 starts and arrives to Carnoustie coming off of a tie for fourth at the Quicken Loans National. In quite an upset, Matsuyama has played worse than Woods this year, only managing to notch two top-10s. Don’t pay attention to that, however, as he shines like few others in major championships (seven consecutive top-20s). Knox won the Irish Open two weeks ago and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Below is a complete list of tee times for round one (all times ET):

1:35 a.m. — Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sullivan

1:46 a.m. — Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate

1:57 a.m. — Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List

2:08 a.m. — Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Norris

2:19 a.m. — Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell

2:30 a.m. — Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook

2:41 a.m. — Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry

2:52 a.m. — Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult

3:03 a.m. — Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:14 a.m. — Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry

3:25 a.m. — Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard

3:36 a.m. — Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara

3:47 a.m. — Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang

4:03 a.m. — Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley

4:14 a.m. — Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee

4:25 a.m. — David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na

4:36 a.m. — Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen

4:47 a.m. — Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein

4:58 a.m. — Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

5:09 a.m. — Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood

5:20 a.m. — Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed

5:31 a.m. — Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas

5:42 a.m. — Yuxin Lin, Alexander Björk, Sang Hyun Park

5:53 a.m. — James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard

6:04 a.m. — Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage

6:15 a.m. — Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner

6:36 a.m. — Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke, Cameron Davis

6:47 a.m. — Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III

6:58 a.m. — Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis

7:09 a.m. — Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Ben An

7:20 a.m. — Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood

7:31 a.m. — Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker

7:42 a.m. — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula

7:53 a.m. — Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjørn Olesen

8:04 a.m. — Dustin Johnson, Alex Norén, Charley Hoffman

8:15 a.m. — Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele

8:26 a.m. — Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace

8:37 a.m. — Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li

8:48 a.m. — Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo

9:04 a.m. — Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim

9:15 a.m. — Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp

9:26 a.m. — Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest

9:37 a.m. — Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak

9:48 a.m. — Pádraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace

9:59 a.m. — Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka

10:10 a.m. — Sergio García, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma

10:21 a.m. — Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox

10:32 a.m. — Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley

10:43 a.m. — Ryan Armour, Abraham Ancer, Masahiro Kawamura

10:54 a.m. — Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith

11:05 a.m. — Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior

11:16 a.m. — Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon


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