The USGA didn’t waste any time grabbing headlines for the 118th U.S. Open.
It gave Tiger Woods a really good measuring stick for the first two days at Shinnecock Hills. They put the 14-time major champion with the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 players — Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. Woods and company go late-early, often the preferred order by players. The banner threesome goes ball-in-the-air at 1:47 p.m. off the first tee.
There are some other pretty good groups as well.
For the early risers in Southampton, Bubba Watson, defending champion Brooks Koepka and Jason Day will go into action at 7:40 a.m. off the first tee. Twenty-two minutes later, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson get going off No. 10 at 8:02.
There are some “theme” groups as well.
You have the “Spanish All Stars” — Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Rafa-Cabrera Bello playing together at 1:14 on Thursday, going off No. 1.
There’s the European Tour “All-Star” team — Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari and Alex Noren. They go Thursday at 1:25 off No. 1.
Then there’s “Team Long Ball” — Tony Finau, Luke List and Gary Woodland — three of the tour’s most prolific bombers going off the first tee at 1:03 p.m.
How about The Masters group? You have Patrick Reed going with Charl Schwartzel and Zach Johnson at 7:51 off No. 10.
Harold Varner III will have the honor of putting the first ball in the air off No. 1 at 6:45 a.m.