McIlroy, Koepka in same group at U.S. Open

McIlroy, Koepka in same group at U.S. Open

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, two of the central players in the bitter two-year dispute between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, will tee off together when the 123rd U.S. Open begins at Los Angeles Country Club.

McIlroy, the world’s No. 3-ranked player, and Koepka, the newly crowned PGA Championship winner, will be joined by 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama for the first two rounds and tee off at 4:54 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The tournament will be the first major to be played since the bombshell announcement of a partnership between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV circuit.

McIlroy, bidding to end a nine-year major drought, has been one of the PGA Tour’s most vocal backers.

Despite acknowledging that the unification ultimately would be good for golf, McIlroy reiterated last week that players who jumped to LIV will not be welcomed back with open arms, saying “I still hate LIV,” and “I hope it goes away.”

Koepka became the first active member of LIV Golf to claim a major when he won by two shots at the PGA Championship three weeks ago.

Defending U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick will go head-to-head with reigning Open Championship winner Cameron Smith — another LIV recruit — and American Sam Bennett.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler headlines the morning action when he starts his bid alongside two-time major champion Collin Morikawa and home favorite Max Homa.

Reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, also will be out early and has been grouped with Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele, ranked fifth and sixth in the world, respectively.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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