The pairings for the first two rounds of the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., have been released per MajorChampionships.com. As expected, a few of the pairings will capture the bulk of attention from the media and onlookers.
Because of the enormous field, the tournament is using split tees. Here are the tee times and pairings for the entire field.
The eventual winner could come from any group, but in accordance with name recognition and recent play, select pairings will be the most popular during the first round.
Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley
Total Major Championships: 16
Total PGA Championships: 6
Hype Meter: 9 out of 10
Projected 1st-Round Scores: Woods 68, Bradley 67, Love III 71
"All Eyes on Me" by 2 Pac may as well be Woods' personal theme song. When you throw in 2011 champion Bradley and the legendary DL3, then the attention meter goes even higher.
After Woods' dominating performance at the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, he's clearly the man to beat in Rochester. He won by an amazing seven shots and looked head-and-shoulders above the competition all week.
It is only logical to expect great things from him this week. Woods should come out strong and set the tone on the first day of play.
Bradley finished tied for second behind Woods in Akron, and he seems to always play well at the Bridgestone and PGA Championship. In 2011, he tied for 15th at the Bridgestone prior to his PGA Championship win.
In 2012, he won the Bridgestone and finished second at the PGA. Expect a strong effort from him at Oak Hill.
Love III has won only one major in his career, but it was the PGA Championship. At 49 years old, he is a long shot, but based on his name recognition and accompaniment by more current stars like Woods and Bradley, he fits in this group nicely.
Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Bill Haas
Total Major Championships: 5
Total PGA championships: 0
Hype Meter: 6
Projected 1st-Round Scores: McDowell 72, Els 69, Haas 70
Neither McDowell, Els nor Haas has won the PGA Championship, and Haas hasn't fared well in majors period. His best finish was 12th place at the 2011 PGA Championship.
That said, he's playing well of late. He's had top-10 finishes in five of his last seven starts, and per Rob Bolton of PGATour.com, he's seventh on the power rankings heading into the tournament. His confidence should be high, and that will help to keep him as a legitimate threat after Thursday.
Els is the elder statesmen at 43 years old, but he did win the Open Championship last year. He seems to get up for the majors, so he can't be dismissed. Els' powerful swing would seem to be a good match for Oak Hill, and he'll parlay that into an under-par round.
As for McDowell, it seems his career has flattened out a bit since 2011, but he's still a skilled and formidable player. That said, he hasn't finished higher than 40th in a PGA Tour event since April.
He'll likely be the weakest link of the pairing.
Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson
Total Major Championships: 7
Total PGA championships: 1
Hype Meter: 10
Projected 1st-Round Scores: Scott 70, Rose 71, Mickelson 67
With the winners of the three previous majors this season in the same group, the only thing that's missing is the Tiger effect.
Mickelson climbed to No. 2 in the world behind Woods after his victory at the Open Championships. Rose won on perhaps the most difficult course of the year at Merion in Ardmore, Pa., at the U.S. Open, and Scott was victorious at Augusta National in capturing his first Green Jacket at the Masters.
Of the three, Mickelson is the hottest. He ranks first in birdie average at 4.33 and tops in birdie-or-better conversion percentage at 35.97 this season. Lefty is making the proper adjustments per course, and that has been key in his success this season.
Scott hasn't been especially strong outside of his Masters win. He did finish 14th at the Bridgestone Invitational and tied for third at the Open Championships. A respectable first round seems likely for the Australian.
Rose is one of the hardest to figure out. It has been feast or famine for him in majors this year. His U.S. Open triumph is sandwiched by disappointing showings at the Open Championships and the Masters.
He missed the cut at Muirfield and tied for 25th at Augusta. Expect him to be steady but unspectacular on the first day in Rochester.
Follow me for sports news, results and spirited opinions.