Spieth opens PGA with Garcia, Koepka

Jordan Spieth, trying to become the youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam, will play alongside fellow 2016 major winners Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka in the first two rounds of the 99th PGA Championship, organisers announced on Friday.

The year’s final major golf tournament tees off on Thursday at Quail Hollow with British Open winner Spieth out to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Gary Player as the only men to win all four majors at least once.

The traditional feature trio starts Thursday from the 10th tee at 8:25 am (1225 GMT) and Friday from the first tee at 1:35 pm.

Spaniard Garcia won his first major title at the Masters in April to end years of frustration while Koepka’s first major title came at the US Open at Erin Hills in June.

Spieth added the Claret Jug to his 2015 Masters and US Open trophies two weeks ago at Royal Birkdale. That gives the 24-year-old American one chance to break the career slam age mark now held by Woods by a few months.

Other impressive pairings will flank the year’s major winners, with England’s Paul Casey, South African Charl Schwartzel and American Bubba Watson in the group ahead of them and Australia’s Jason Day, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and American Dustin Johnson just behind them.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland will be joined by Spain’s Jon Rahm and American Rickie Fowler in the first two rounds.

They will start off the same tees and at the same times as the major champions group, but on the opposite days, opening Thursday afternoon and returning Friday morning.

Defending champion Jimmy Walker, five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and past PGA champion Jason Dufner will be in an all-American trio just ahead of McIlroy and company.

England’s Justin Rose will be right behind McIlroy with Americans Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker.

It will be the 100th career major start for Mickelson and South African Ernie Els, a four-time major winner who will open alongside England’s Ian Poulter and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

© AFP

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