US golfer Tiger Woods watches his shot from the 17th tee during a practice round for the 2013 British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield Golf Course in Gullane, eastern Scotland on July 15, 2013. Woods will join Ulsterman Graeme McDowell and South African Louis Oosthuizen for Thursday's first round of the British Open.AFP
GULLANE (AFP) – Tournament favourite Tiger Woods will join Ulsterman Graeme McDowell and South African Louis Oosthuizen for Thursday's first round of the British Open.
The 37-year-old American, who will be playing competitively for the first time in a month after spraining his left elbow during the US Open, is seeking a 15th major title, over five years after winning his last at the 2008 US Open.
In McDowell he will have the 2010 US Open champion, who won his third title of the year at the French Open on July 7.
Oosthuizen won the British Open at St Andrews in 2010, with Woods having won the title there in 2005 and 2000.
They will have a mid-afternoon start on Thursday at 2:45 pm (1545 GMT) and a 9:44 am (1044 GMT) start on Friday.
Defending champion Ernie Els will go out with Justin Rose, who won the US Open last month and American Brandt Snedeker, seen as one of the finest putters in the game but who has yet to win a major.
Rory McIlroy, winless this year after making an equipment change that has seen his form slump, is paired with Phil Mickelson, who is back up to fifth in the world after winning the Scottish Open on Sunday and rising Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama.
Other top groupings see Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel brought together as well as Masters champion Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald.
First out on Thursday at 6:32 am (0732) will be Australian veteran Peter Senior, local lad Lloyd Saltman and Oliver Fisher of England.