Englishman Justin Rose will have Phil Mickelson, the man he pipped to win last year’s US Open Championship, for company when he defends his title at Pinehurst Resort next week.
Rose finished two shots ahead of the American at Merion Golf Club to claim his maiden Major Championship, and the pair is joined by the reigning Amateur Champion, Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, for the first two rounds at the North Carolina venue.
A trio of former champions in Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy (2011), Graeme McDowell (2010) and Webb Simpson (2012) begin their challenge together early on Thursday, while reigning European Number One Henrik Stenson has been paired with American Matt Kuchar and England’s Lee Westwood.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia joins Australian Jason Day, who was joint runner-up with Mickelson last year, and home hope Brandt Snedeker, and Ian Poulter is in an all-European Tour triumvirate with in-form Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.
Luke Donald, who partnered Rose in the final round at Merion last year but fell back to tied eighth, has his fellow Englishman Paul Casey and American Harris English for company, while South Africans Ernie Els, twice a US Open Champion in 1994 and 1997, and Louis Oosthuizen tee up with Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke.
In other marquee groups, Martin Kaymer joins Americans Jason Dufner, the reigning US PGA Champion, and Keegan Bradley, Jamie Donaldson is paired with Italian Francesco Molinari and Hunter Mahan.
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Master Champion, will tee up alongside the two men who succeeded him at Augusta National, Bubba Watson (2012 and 2014) and Adam Scott (2013).