Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, who are the world's top three ranked golfers in that order, will be paired together in the first two rounds of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, just west of Philadelphia.
The tournament's official Twitter page announced the news Friday of the marquee group, which will tee off on Thursday, June 13 at 1:14 p.m. Eastern Time:
This superstar trio competed in last week's Memorial Tournament but with little success. Scott finished best in a tie for 13th, while Woods unexpectedly struggled as defending champion to a tie for 65th. The second-ranked McIlroy didn't fare much better at T57.
It will certainly be interesting to monitor the group dynamic, especially with Woods' longtime caddy, Steve Williams, on the bag for Scott.
It's a dream scenario for golf fans and spectators, and a wise move from a marketing standpoint by the tournament organizers. While many would have been following Woods' progress regardless, adding McIlroy and Scott to the mix will only raise the stakes.
It appears that the 24-year-old Northern Irishman is up for the challenge:
Decent group for the first 2 rounds at Merion I see....— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) June 7, 2013
ESPN's Justin Ray notes how well Woods has fared when playing alongside McIlroy:
The last major Woods was able to capture was the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff that went to 19 holes.
Woods has won four times in eight starts in 2013, though, and prior to his disappointing display in his last start, he looked nearly invincible. The only player not to win in the group this season is McIlroy, who has not quite found his form, particularly on the greens, but still does boast four top-10 finishes thus far.
Jason Sobel of Golf Channel tweeted some other captivating groupings:
Other U.S. Open groups: Mickelson/Stricker/Bradley; Kuchar/Rose/Snedeker; Donald/Westwood/Kaymer; McDowell/Furyk/Z.Johnson.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 7, 2013
Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson will be fun to watch together, since they formed an awesome Ryder Cup duo for the American side in going 3-0 in their match play showdowns, none of which reached the 18th hole.
The latter group Sobel mentions features Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk, who co-led after 54 holes and played in the final pairing of last year's U.S. Open at Olympic Club on Sunday. They wound up being caught by Webb Simpson, whose up-and-down on the 72nd hole ultimately clinched him the victory.
Who will perform best at the U.S. Open?
Merion is a shorter course, which is in contrast to the longer modern venues that often play into the hands of long hitters.
Many of these elite stars can crush it with the best of them, but success at this venue is especially about possessing accuracy off the tee and a stellar short game.
Note: Statistics and tournament history are courtesy of PGATour.com.