Woods and Mickelson go head to head at US Open

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play together for the first two rounds of the US Open at Torrey Pines next week, a decision by the United States Golf Association to create equal footing for the highest-ranked players, but one that could turn the course into one big traffic jam. Woods and Mickelson, No 1 and 2 in the world, will be joined by the No 3, Adam Scott.

Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competition for the USGA, said the top 12 players will be grouped together and spread over the four various time slots, starting on the first tee or 10th tee in the morning, and likewise in the afternoon. The biggest stars are usually dispersed among the morning and afternoon times, largely at the behest of television.

Davis said the USGA has been thinking about a change over the past few months. "Why not put them in the same wave?" he said. "The heck with what TV wants. Let's do what we want for the championship."

The last time Woods and Mickelson played together in the early rounds of a major was at Medinah in the 2006 PGA Championship, which traditionally groups the three major champions of that year.

Both Mickelson and Woods have a huge fan base at Torrey Pines. Woods is a six-time winner there at the Buick Invitational and grew up 90 miles away in Orange County, California. Mickelson, the local favourite, is a native of San Diego.

* There was no play at the Austrian Open in Vienna yesterday due to heavy rain.

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