Sport News : McIlroy set for late teeoff as U.S. Open begins

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McIlroy, who claimed his first major title by a commanding eight shots at Congressional Country Club last year, was scheduled to start on the first hole at 1329 local time (2029 GMT).

The Northern Irishman has been drawn with European Ryder Cup team mates, world number one Luke Donald and third-ranked Lee Westwood, for the first two rounds.

Tournament favorite Tiger Woods, who clinched the most recent of his 14 major titles at the 2008 U.S. Open, has been paired with U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson in a glamour grouping.

The three Americans, all winners of the Masters after left-hander Watson triumphed at Augusta National in April, will start on the ninth tee at 0733 (1433).

Players normally begin their rounds from the first and 10th tees at the U.S. Open but tournament officials decided to change that for logistical reasons as the ninth tee is closer to the clubhouse at Olympic's Lake Course.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, beaten by Watson in a playoff at the Masters, was paired with last year's U.S. Open runner-up, Australian Jason Day, and 2011 U.S. PGA Championship runner-up Jason Dufner of the United States.

Three of the sport's promising young players, Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, were also grouped together.

In other first-round groupings, South African Ernie Els has be en paired with Australia's Geoff Ogilvy and Argentina's Angel Cabrera while 2009 PGA Championship winner Yang Yong-eun will be joined by fellow South Koreans KJ Choi and Kim Kyung-tae.

The first blow of the 2012 U.S. Open, on the par-four ninth hole, was struck by American Shane Bertsch who pushed his tee shot into the right rough.

Martin Flores also ended up in the right rough with his drive while fellow American Tommy Biershenk pulled his tee shot well left of the fairway.

Fears of early morning fog proved groundless and conditions were expected to become sunny, hazy and breezy for most of the day.

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