Phil Mickelson opens in afternoon

Updated: June 10, 2011, 6:49 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Graeme McDowell begins defense of his U.S. Open title on Thursday at Congressional Country Club in a traditional grouping that has him playing the first two rounds with British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein.

The threesome will begin play at 7:55 a.m. ET off the Bethesda, Md., course's first tee. They will tee off No. 10 at 1:35 p.m. on June 17.

The United States Golf Association announced the tee times and pairings on Friday for the 111th U.S. Open and the third at Congressional, which will measure 7,574 yards and play to par 71.

No. 1- ranked Luke Donald of England will play with No. 2 Lee Westwood and No. 3 Martin Kaymer the first two days. They start at 8:06 a.m. ET Thursday off the 10th tee.

Five-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, who turns 41 on Thursday, is playing the first two rounds with Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. They begin play at 1:35 p.m. on Thursday.

Other notable groupings include Spaniards Miguez Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros; Swedes Henrik Stenson, Johan Edfords and Fred Jacobson; and Italian brothers Edoardo and Franceso Molinari along with countryman Matteo Manassero.

Michael Whitehead, who replaced three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods, won't get a marquee tee time. After beginning play at 9:12 a.m. on Thursday, he won't tee off until 2:52 p.m. on Friday. Woods is missing his first U.S. Open since 1994 because of lingering knee and Achilles injuries.

Steve Stricker, the top-ranked American in the world at No. 4 and coming off a victory at the Memorial, is with two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and David Toms.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South South Africa is playing with fellow Masters winners Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson.

And two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els, who won the last Open at Congressional in 1997, will play with Davis Love III and Jim Furyk.

The field will have 156 players, with a cut to the low 60 and ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead after 36 holes.

Bog Harig is a golf writer for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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