Big names drawn together at U.S. Open as Tiger renews Mickelson rivalry

    Tiger Woods, left, will play at a major with Phil Mickelson for the first time since the Masters in 2009.

    Story highlights

    • World No. 1 Luke Donald drawn with Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood for U.S. Open
    • Tiger Woods will play alongside Phil Mickelson and Masters champion Bubba Watson
    • Woods is seeking his third U.S. Open title, while Mickelson has been runner-up five times
    • The tournament features the return of Casey Martin, who needs to use a golf cart
    The world's top golfers will play together at next week's U.S. Open as organizers have chosen to bring together big names for the season's second major.
    Top-ranked Luke Donald will line up with defending champion Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Lee Westwood for the first two rounds at San Francisco's Olympic Club next Thursday and Friday.
    And in another stellar group, 14-time major winner Tiger Woods will play with Masters champion Bubba Watson and five-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson -- ranked fourth, fifth and 12th respectively.
    Woods comes into the tournament on the back of his 73rd PGA Tour victory at the Memorial Tournament, where he tied its host Jack Nicklaus in second place on the all-time list behind Sam Snead.
    The former world No. 1's last major win came at the 2008 U.S. Open, when he triumphed in a playoff despite a serious knee injury.
    Four-time major winner Mickelson pulled out of last week's Ohio event after shooting 79 in his opening round, citing fatigue after a hectic schedule including his wife's 40th birthday. Mickelson's rivalry with Woods has provided many of golf's great moments in the past two decades.
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    They played together at Torrey Pines in 2008 when Woods won his fourth U.S. Open, but their last pairing at a major was the 2009 Masters -- where Mickelson was fifth and Woods tied sixth.
    Watson has played only twice since April's Augusta triumph, finishing 18th in New Orleans and then missing the cut at Muirfield Village last week.
    McIlroy also missed the cut at the Memorial, his third in a row. The Northern Irishman is playing at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis this week, and carded a two-under par 68 in his opening round on Thursday.
    It left him in touch with the early leaders, but the 23-year-old reach just half of his greens in regulation and found less than half of his fairways in the first round.
    He will need to be more accurate at the tree-lined Olympic Club, which has been totally revamped since it hosted the U.S. Open in 1998 and is expected to provide a stern test. If he wins in Memphis, he will take back the top spot from Donald.
    Donald has taken a break this week after finishing 12th at the Memorial, and he will be seeking his first major along with fellow Englishman and former world No. 1 Westwood.
    Westwood is playing at the European Tour's Scandinavian Masters in Sweden, where he has a three-stroke lead at the halfway stage.
    The 39-year-old shot 64 in his second round on Thursday as he seeks his third victory at the event, having won it in 2000 and 1996 -- his first professional title.
    In other notable groups next week, McIlroy's compatriot Graeme McDowell -- the 2010 U.S. Open champion -- will play with 2003 winner Jim Furyk and another former world No. 2, Sergio Garcia of Spain.
    South Africa's two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els will play with 2006 winner Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and Argentina's Angel Cabrera, who won it in 2007 and the Masters two years later.
    U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love came through Monday's qualifying and will line up alongside Ireland's three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and fellow American veteran David Toms.
    Retief Goosen, another South African to have won the tournament twice, will play with former world No. 1 Vijay Singh and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, who has won once on the PGA Tour this season.
    There will be an all-South Korean grouping consisting of eight-time PGA Tour winner K.J. Choi, fellow veteran Y.E. Yang (who famously headed off Woods to take the 2009 PGA Championship) and promising 25-year-old K.T. Kim -- who played for the International team at last year's Presidents Cup.
    The field also includes Casey Martin, who came through qualifying this week to earn his first major start since 1998.
    The 40-year-old, now a university coach in Oregon, needs to use a golf cart due to a circulatory disorder in his leg that means he cannot walk 18 holes.