Johnson, McIlroy paired with Schwartzel at British Open
Southport — World No1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy will play together in the first two rounds of the British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Johnson and McIlroy will play together with former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel in a group that will start their opening round at 3.48pm South African time on Thursday.
The trio will then tee off at 10.47am on Friday on the links in Southport, north of Liverpool.
McIlroy won the Open not far from Birkdale at Hoylake in 2014 but comes into the 2017 championship in poor form, having missed the cut at both the Irish Open and the Scottish Open in the past two weeks.
The world No4 also missed the cut at the US Open, as did Johnson, who has not played since then.
World No2 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is in a group with US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Southport native Tommy Fleetwood, ranked 14th in the world and one of the form players on the tour.
World No3 Jordan Spieth of the US and 2016’s Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden will play together alongside Kim Si-Woo of South Korea in the first two rounds.
Another group sure to attract the galleries will be Masters champion Sergio Garcia, world No6 Jason Day and 2015 Open champion Zach Johnson.
Mark O’Meara, who won the Open at Birkdale in 1998, will start the tournament when he tees off on Thursday.