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2011 U.S. Open Tee Times: Breaking Down Thursday's Pairings

Immer ChriswellCorrespondent IJune 16, 2011

2011 U.S. Open Tee Times: Breaking Down Thursday's Pairings

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 13:  Bubba Watson watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 13, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Today, it begins. The US Open will start, and everyone wants to know what groups to see. There are plenty, as the USGA has taken advantage of the new system to pair players.

    There's the classic groups, the themed groups, and some head-scratchers as well. You may not know all of the people in one group, but that's the system they're using. The USGA has created a number of groups that have major potential this weekend. It's the US Open, anyone has it. 

Top Three: Donald, Westwood, Kaymer

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Luke Donald of England hits from a bunker during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    This is a group to keep your eye on. With Donald's play, and Westwood's surge, you could see a few leads come out of this group. It's impressive to say Kaymer is the question mark of the group, but he is of all of them. 

    One of these gentlemen could be hoisting the trophy at the end of the tournament.

The Champs: McDowell, Uihelin, Oosthuizen

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland plays a pitch shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Another one of the groups that is always a fixture. The defending champion paired with the US Amateur champ and the Open champ. Graeme McDowell is really the only man to watch out for in this group, however.

    Peter Uihelin is an amateur, so you can't expect too much, and Louis Oosthuizen hasn't done as much as you would hope since the Open title.

The Contenders: Kuchar, Casey, Choi

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Matt Kuchar watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    A group of guys that can definitely come out with a huge first round. K.J. Choi is a dark horse very much, however, Matt Kuchar and Paul Casey are always great players and have thrived in the past two seasons.

    You will see these guys this weekend, don't worry.

The Swedes: Stenson, Edfors, Jacobson

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    FT. WORTH, TX - MAY 19: Henrik Stenson of Sweden waves to the gallery on the eighth green during the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club on May 19, 2011 in Ft. Worth, Texas. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Nothing too special about this group, but they are all one nationality, so you have to love seeing this. 

    Don't forget Henrik Stenson does have a PLAYERS title. So if he were to break out of his funk, it's not impossible to see that happening.

The Classics: Els, Love III, Furyk

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Jim Furyk watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Three guys everyone loves to see. They're class acts, and darn good players to boot. You can never count these guys out at a major, because even at their age they have major potential.

    I wouldn't say they hoist it this weekend, but hey you never know.

Youth of the Nation: Palmer, Overton, Woodland

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Jeff Overton celebrates a hole-in-one on the 13th hole with Butch Harmon during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/G
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    These are some of the future of American golf. And each of them has a lot of talent. Gary Woodland is a long baller, Jeff Overton is a steady player as is Ryan Palmer. It would be great to see a young American come out this week and represent the nation.

    Watch out for Overton this week especially.

The Spaniards: Garcia, Jimenez, Quiros

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Sergio Garcia of Spain laughs as he walks across a green during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Ima
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Every single one of these guys have a huge upside.

    Miguel Angel Jimenez is a constant fixture. Sergio Garcia is the fiery Spaniard and great ball striker. Alvaro Quiros is a bomber. It would be a great way to honor Seve Ballesteros by bringing home a US Open for Spain this year. 

Italian Job: Manassero, Molinari, Molinari

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Matteo Manassero of Italy plays a bunker shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    This is a deadly group.

    Matteo Manassero is the young gun, and the Molinari brothers have the talent to both be at the top. Perhaps a twin first/second finish?

    Maybe not, but be sure to watch when they show Manassero. That's the future of world golf, and it's good.

Two of the Boy Band: Fowler, Poulter, Mahan

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Rickie Fowler hits a tee shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    If you have seen Ben Crane's video, you know two of these guys.

    If not, you know these guys. The fashion will be abundant, as will the potential to win a first major or a first ever event as well.

Green Jacket: Schwartzel, Immelman, Johnson

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Charl Schwartzel (L) and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa walk off a tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Red
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Not a group that really impresses, unless you watch their Masters performances.

    Rekindle those and there is some danger brewing. I wouldn't count on any of these being factors this weekend.

They Won Majors?: Harrington, Cabrera, Cink

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits a tee shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    These guys have fallen off the map, but are all major winners.

    Watch out, they could bring it back for this. Angel Cabrera always seems to do that, and don't forget Padraig Harrington's three majors. Stewart Cink is just a steady stick, but that could be enough.

Quiet but Deadly: Stricker, Goosen, Toms

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Steve Stricker hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    You don't hear too much about these guys, but their golf games make plenty of waves for them.

    Steve Stricker's consistency, Retief Goosen's as well, and David Toms ability to bring it back after a rough day all exemplify the quality of a potential champion.

Feature: Johnson, McIlroy, Mickelson

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Dustin Johnson hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Ask any of these guys about a major choke. They will spin you a story. Ask them their goal: clear the past and look towards a new start.

    This group will be a factor. Not a doubt in anyone's mind.

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