McIlroy among the early starters

The Open tee times have been released, and Rory McIlroy will be one of the earlier starters on Thursday.

The Open tee times have been released, and Rory McIlroy will be one of the earlier starters on Thursday.

The US Open champion has been grouped alongside 2002 winner Ernie Els and American young gun Rickie Fowler, and will tee off at 0909 local time in Thursday’s first round.

Despite the fact that a win for McIlroy will mean he becomes the youngest winner of the oldest major since 1893, he is still considered the pre-tournament favourite.

The 22-year-old will be hoping for a start similar to last year’s Open, when he opened with a 63, eventualy finishing third despite a second-round 80 in bad weather.

McIlroy hasn’t played competitive golf since his stunning victory at Congressional last month, though he has had some practise time at Royal St. George’s in the last week. He’ll also give his pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday.

Play gets underway at 0630 on Thursday morning, and American Jerry Kelly will hit the first shot of the tournament as he tees off alongside Australian Nathan Green and Englishman Danny Willett.

Other notable pairings are world number one and recent Barclays Scottish Open winnner Luke Donald, who will go out alongside Japan’s Ryo ishikawa and Spaniard Sergio Garcia in the group immediately after McIlroy’s.

World number two Lee Westwood will play alongside US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker, winner of his third consecutive John Deere Classic on Sunday.

Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen will head out in the group after Westwood’s, and will play alongside world number three Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickelson.

The final group won’t be out till 1611, and the last man to tee off will be Singapore’s Chih-bing Lam.

Dane Thomas Bjorn will have to wait till then to find out if anyone has withdrawn, allowing him a place in the field as the first reserve.

Bjorn famously blew a three-shot lead with four holes to play in the 2003 Open, after taking three shots to get out of a bunker on the par-three 16th hole.

All the tee-off times in the first & second round of THE 140th OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Royal St George’s GC, Sandwich, Kent, England
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, all times BST):
(x) denotes amateurs

0630 & 1131 Nathan Green (Aus), Jerry Kelly (USA), Danny Willett
0641 & 1142Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Mark Calcavecchia (USA), Graeme Storm
0652 & 1153 Gregory Havret (Fra), Charley Hoffman (USA), Markus Brier (Aut)
0703 & 1204 Simon Khan, Todd Hamilton (USA), Prayad Marksaeng (Tha)
0714 & 1215 Rhys Davies, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe), Mark O’Meara (USA)
0725 & 1226 Simon Dyson, Vijay Singh (Fij), Gary Woodland (USA)
0736 & 1237 Ryan Moore (USA), Kyung-Tae Kim (Kor), Alvaro Quiros (Spa)
0747 & 1248 Bo Van Pelt (USA), K J Choi (Kor), Martin Laird
0758 & 1259 Bill Haas (USA), Stephen Gallacher, Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn)
0809 & 1310 Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Peter Uihlein (USA), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa)
0820 & 1321 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Jpn), Stewart Cink (USA)
0831 & 1332 Nick Watney (USA), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Angel Cabrera (Arg)
0842 & 1343 Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson (USA)
0858 & 1359 Paul Casey, Ben Curtis (USA), Aaron Baddeley (Aus)
0909 & 1410 Ernie Els (Rsa), Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler (USA)
0920 & 1421 Luke Donald, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Sergio Garcia (Spa)
0931 & 1432 Hunter Mahan (USA), Retief Goosen (Rsa), Anders Hansen (Den)
0942 & 1443 Brian Davis, Camilo Villegas (Col), David Duval (USA)
0953 & 1454 Ross Fisher, John Daly (USA), Peter Hanson (Swe)
1004 & 1505 Jason Dufner (USA), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Craig Hinton
1015 & 1516 Alexander Noren (Swe), Paul Lawrie, Kevin Na (USA)
1026 & 1527 Seung-yul Noh (Kor), Sean O’Hair (USA), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den)
1037 & 1538 Simon Edwards (USA), Bob Estes (USA), Richard McEvoy
1048 & 1549 Francis McGuirk, Matthew Millar (Aus), Kevin Streelman (USA)
1059 & 1600 Mark Laskey, Thomas Shadbolt, Rick Kulacz (Aus)
1110 & 1611 Chris Tidland (USA), Simon Lilly (Gb), Neil Schietekat (Rsa)
1131 & 0630 Spencer Levin (USA), Peter Whiteford, Thomas Aiken (Rsa)
1142 & 0641 Prom Meesawat (Tha), Martin Maritz (Rsa), Harrison Frazar (USA)
1153 & 0652 Chad Campbell (USA), Kenneth Ferrie, Scott Jamieson
1204 & 0703 Mark Wilson (USA), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Kyle Stanley (USA)
1215 & 0714 Steve Marino (USA), Richard Green (Aus), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)
1226 & 0725 Sandy Lyle, Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Anthony Kim (USA)
1237 & 0736 Charles Howell III (USA), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Joost Luiten (Ned)
1248 & 0747 Brandt Snedeker (USA), Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Trevor Immelman (Rsa)
1259 & 0758 Jonathan Byrd (USA), Darren Clarke, Y.E. Yang (Kor)
1310 & 0809 Lucas Glover (USA), Hiroo Kawai (Jpn), Robert Karlsson (Swe)
1321 & 0820 Bryden Macpherson (Aus), Matt Kuchar (USA), Padraig Harrington
1332 & 0831 Zach Johnson (USA), Adam Scott (Aus), Justin Rose
1343 & 0842 Jason Day (Aus), Graeme McDowell, Bubba Watson (USA)
1359 & 0858 Bernhard Langer (Ger), Jim Furyk (USA), Tadahiro Takayama (Jpn)
1410 & 0909 Lee Westwood, Steve Stricker (USA), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)
1421 & 0920 Martin Kaymer (Ger), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Phil Mickelson (USA)
1432 & 0931 Henrik Stenson (Swe), Tom Lewis, Tom Watson (USA)
1443 & 0942 Robert Allenby (Aus), Davis Love III (USA), Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe)
1454 & 0953 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), J.B. Holmes (USA), Sang-moon Bae (Kor)
1505 & 1004 Webb Simpson (USA), Robert Rock, Alejandro Canizares (Spa)
1516 & 1015 Justin Leonard (USA), Kurt Barnes (Aus), Jeff Overton (USA)
1527 & 1026 Lee Corfield, Ben Crane (USA), Floris De Vries (Ned)
1538 & 1037 Tom Lehman (USA), Ryan Palmer (USA), Adam Wootton
1549 & 1048 Jung-Gon Hwang (Kor), Gary Boyd, Robert Garrigus (USA)
1600 & 1059 George Coetzee (Rsa), Andy Smith, Brad Kennedy (Aus)
1611 & 1110 Jason Knutzon (USA), Andrew Johnson (USA), Chih-bing Lam (Sin)