The Open: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in opposite sides of draw
Open favourite McIlroy off at 10:09am as Darren Clarke is handed the honour of hitting the first tee shot of the tournament
By Keith Jackson at Royal Portrush
Last Updated: 15/07/19 6:21pm
Rory McIlroy is among the early starters for the first round of The 148th Open, while Tiger Woods is in the opposite side of the draw at Royal Portrush.
Darren Clarke, the 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year, will have the honour of striking the opening tee-shot in front of his home fans at 6:35am, with his compatriot and pre-tournament favourite McIlroy heading to the first tee at 10:09am.
McIlroy will be accompanied by Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey and US Open champion Gary Woodland, and the earlier starters are currently expected to enjoy the more favourable weather conditions, according to the official Open forecasters.
The 2014 winner begins his campaign for a first major victory in almost five years in the group immediately after reigning champion Francesco Molinari, who plays alongside Adam Scott and Bryson DeChambeau for the first two rounds of the first Open at Portrush since 1951.
McIlroy's group are likely to hole out at the 18th shortly after Woods starts his quest for a second major of the year, with the Masters champion scheduled to tee off at 3:10pm alongside Patrick Reed and England's in-form Matt Wallace.
Woods has played only sparingly since his astonishing triumph at Augusta National in April, since when he has competed in only the PGA Championship in May, followed by The Memorial and the US Open last month.
Brooks Koepka, who has dominated the major championships since winning the first of four at the US Open in 2017, has a lunchtime slot at 1:04pm and will play with 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and young Indian star Shubhankar Sharma.
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Portrush native Graeme McDowell, who holed a priceless 30-foot putt on the final hole at the Canadian Open to book his Open place, is certain to attract a large following when he tees off at 9:14am with 2016 winner Henrik Stenson and Xander Schauffele.
Jordan Spieth, without a win on any Tour since his 2017 Open triumph at Royal Birkdale, starts his campaign shortly after Koepka and is grouped with Danny Willett and Marc Leishman, while world No 4 Justin Rose is off at 2:48pm with Tony Finau and Lucas Bjerregaard.
World No 2 Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Keegan Bradley head off in the group before Woods, while the last of the high-profile groupings sees Irish Open champion Jon Rahm teeing off with Matt Kuchar and Patrick Cantlay at 3:21pm.
First round selected tee times
6.35am Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman
7.30am Padraig Harrington, Matt Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam
7.52am Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace
9.14am Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell
9.58am Francesco Molinari, Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau
10.09am Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland
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10.20am Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner
12.53pm Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Thomas, Thorbjorn Olesen
1.04pm Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma
1.26pm Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Danny Willett
2.48pm Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard, Justin Rose
2.59pm Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
3.10pm Tiger Woods, Matthew Wallace, Patrick Reed
3.21pm Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay