Golf: Woods and Westwood paired for US Open

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The Independent Online
TIGER WOODS, who won six times in nine months at the start of his professional career, and Lee Westwood, who has won six times in the last eight months, have been drawn together for the first two rounds of the US Open, which starts on Thursday in San Francisco.

The third member of the pairing will be the eight-time major winner Tom Watson, who was second to Scott Simpson on the last occasion the US Open was played at the Olympic Club in 1987.

The meeting of the game's two young stars is bound to create a stir. Westwood, 25, and the 22-year-old Woods were involved in a fourball match at the Ryder Cup last September with Nick Faldo and Mark O'Meara, as their respective partners, and the European pairing won 2 and 1.

However, the grouping may be overshadowed by the debut of Casey Martin, who will be the first player to be able to use a buggy in the US Open.

Martin, who won the right in court to use a cart due to a birth defect in his left leg, will be accompanied by Dave Eger, the Walker Cup player and former Senior Director of Rules and Competitions at the USGA, and Ed Fryatt, the English-born player from Las Vegas.

Last year's runner-up Colin Montgomerie, appointed an OBE in the Birthday Honours, will play with the Americans David Duval and Jim Furyk, while Darren Clarke has drawn Phil Mickelson and Jeff Maggert.

"That's great news," said the Ulsterman, who lost to Mickelson 2 and 1 in the singles at Valderrama. "I'll be up for that." As long as he is fit to play, Ernie Els, the defending champion, will tee off alongside the Open champion Justin Leonard and the US Amateur winner Matt Kuchar.

Meanwhile, on a soggy morning here at Westchester, Westwood had slipped back to one under par after making four bogeys and two birdies in the 15 holes he was able to play before play was suspended as the course had become saturated. The Englishman was six shots behind the overnight leader Kevin Sutherland, who had yet to start his round.

Clarke completed his round, adding a level par 71 to his 73 on Thursday. Nick Faldo produced a spell of five birdies in eight holes to get back to level par with four holes to play.

Scores, Digest, page 23