Early-round grouping to change

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The U.S. Open has its 1-2 punch now that Phil Mickelson intends to play, although Lefty and Tiger Woods won't see much of each other at Bethpage Black unless it's on the weekend.

Mike Davis, the USGA official in charge of competition, says the top three players in the world ranking won't be in the same group for the opening two rounds as they were last year at Torrey Pines

"We probably did that ... I won't say it was a one-time basis, but the idea last year had so much to do with the fact we had an opportunity to get Phil and Tiger together, which had not happened at a U.S. Open before," Davis said today. "We always have that traditional pairing of the defending champion, the British Open champion and the U.S. Amateur champion."

That's the plan this year, except that U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee has turned pro and has to qualify.

Davis said Woods and Padraig Harrington will be in the same group, although he has yet to figure out who will join them. One thought is to put Masters Tournament champion Angel Cabrera with them.


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