US Open pairings: Golf stars abound in 156-man field

US Open pairings: Tiger, check. Rory, ready. Phil, signed in. Who else might make a splash at Merion this week?

Morry Gash/AP
US Open pairings: Steve Stricker watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the US Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa.

Despite torrential rains early this week that could affect tournament action and the threat of more severe weather, the 113th United States Open golf championship is scheduled to tee off bright and early Thursday morning at the Merion Golf Club, just outside Philadelphia. It's the fifth time the national championship will be played at the venerable Main Line course.

A quick look at the first round pairings shows how the United States Golf Association (USGA) will feature a number of pro golfers to keep the galleries focused on the action all day long.

Phil Mickelson, still looking for his first US Open title, will tee off from hole No. 11 at 7:11 a.m. Eastern time, paired with Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, and Steve Stricker.

The very next trio to tee off on 11 includes Matt Kuchar, who has won twice on the PGA Tour this year. He's paired with Brandt Snedeker, who won the TOUR Championship at the end of last season, and Britain's Justin Rose.

Another threesome that should bear watching will be Group No. 33 at 1:03 p.m. that includes former US Open champions Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell and former Masters champion Zach Johnson.

The USGA has set up a fan-friendly grouping at 1:14 p.m. Three-time former US Open champion and world No. 1 Tiger Woods will be paired with defending PGA and former US Open champion Rory McIlroy and current Masters champion Adam Scott.

Woods, along with McIlroy and Scott, sit atop the world rankings, providing some extra excitement on the golf course.

"I think it will be fantastic," Woods told "I was part of that the first time they did it in '08. And it was very electric out there. I know they've done it a few more times. ... For me it's been fantastic. Normally we don't get those types of pairings very often. When you do it just makes it that much more enjoyable for us as players," the six-time USGA junior and amateur champion added.

At 1:36 p.m., Webb Simpson, the defending US Open champion, tees off with two-time former US Open and defending British Open champ Ernie Els, along with US Amateur champion Steven Fox.

ESPN will televise first and second round action, beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern time both Thursday and Friday. NBC will continue coverage those two days, beginning at 3 p.m. Then, on the weekend, NBC will televise the action, starting at noon Eastern time both Saturday and Sunday.

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