Masters unveils pairings for Rounds 1, 2

Updated: April 5, 2011, 11:19 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson will begin defense of his Masters title on Thursday at 1:48 p.m. ET as part of the second-to-last group to tee off in the opening round at Augusta National Golf Club.

Mickelson will be grouped for the first two days with 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein. They tee off at 10:30 a.m. ET Friday.

Tiger Woods, a four-time Masters winner, gets an earlier start, going off at 10:41 a.m. ET Thursday with reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Australia's Robert Allenby. They will play Friday at 1:48 p.m. ET.

Mickelson will attempt to become only the fourth player ever to win back-to-back Masters titles.

"I like the latest tee time possible here," Mickelson said Tuesday, "and the reason is, at about 5 o'clock it just seems to calm down. It seems like any wind that might be out there just seems to subside. It seems very peaceful and I would love nothing more than to have the last tee time every day."

Former Masters champions Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus will get the tournament under way as honorary starters, hitting tee shots from the first hole at 7:40 a.m. ET Thursday.

Woods continues to redefine his swing under new coach Sean Foley. Woods hasn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open.

"I just know that what I've been doing was not as consistent as what I can be doing," Woods said Tuesday. "I won here in '97 thinking that was a great week, but I can't repeat this. That swing would not put me in contention each and every week and I need to change that."

The first round's first group will be Jonathan Byrd, Ross Fisher and Sean O'Hair at 7:45 a.m. ET.

Other groupings include Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Nick Watney at 8:40 a.m.; Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day (nobody in the group is older than 23) at 9:24 a.m.; Ryder Cup captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love, along with amateur Lion Kim, at 12:31 p.m.; and Bubba Watson, Paul Casey and Edoardo Molinari at 1:15 p.m.

The last threesome of Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland and Alvaro Quiros tees off at 1:59 p.m. ET.

ESPN will air first- and second-round coverage from Augusta beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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