Last three winners grouped together at U.S. Open

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Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson - the last three winners of the U.S. Open - have been grouped together for the first two rounds of this year's tournament at Erin Hills.

The course near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosts the U.S. Open for the first time and will also see former champion Rory McIlroy play alongside Jason Day and 2013 winner Justin Rose in the early stages.

Here we take a look at the pick of the groupings for the first two rounds.

 

Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson 

The three most recent U.S. Open champions will have a first-hand look at each other's games early in the tournament.

Spieth and Johnson played against and defeated Kaymer's European squad at the Ryder Cup last autumn, while the two Americans went neck-and-neck for the U.S. Open crown in 2015. Spieth ultimately prevailed because Johnson three-putted from 11 feet on the 72nd hole.

Spieth and Kaymer are similar in strengths and distance off the tee. Johnson is renowned for his big drive.

 

Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia

The three Masters winners will enter the week expecting to contend. Watson has been dreadful since last spring, compiling just one top 10 in stroke play events since his T-10 at last year's Tour Championship.

Scott finished in the top 10 at the Masters (T-9) and the Players Championship (T-6) this year, so his game has come alive on the big stage. His comments regarding the USGA's recent struggles will throw him firmly into the limelight.

Garcia has been solid since slipping on the green jacket in April. It seems unlikely he will go nearly two decades without winning a major only to win two in a row, but it could happen.

 

Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm

If the previous group highlighted the stars in their 30s, then this is a power group representing some of the game's brightest talents in their 20s. Matsuyama hasn't played well since his winning barrage last winter, but he has the long game to win a U.S. Open.

Fowler has been peppering leaderboards all year. His putting stroke looks great and he's been finding fairways with relative ease. Fowler should be motivated playing alongside two stars even younger than him.

Rahm has set the golf world ablaze with consistent form. He has finished T-4, T-72, T-2, MC in his last four starts. Under that trend, he might just earn another victory this week.

 

Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters and Brooks Koepka

This group features a nice blend of finesse and power. Koepka and Pieters will put on a show off the tee, and while Cabrera Bello is no slouch, he excels around the greens.

Pieters contended at the Masters with T-4 in his first trip to Augusta National. He has three top-five finishes on Tour this season, and finished T-14 at the BMW PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago.

Koepka has been an enigma this year, racking up missed cuts and top-20 finishes. If his putter is on, he could threaten to win his first major championship.

 

Jason Day, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy

Arguably the most illustrious group, this trio of major champions should have galleries flocking to see what they can conjure at Erin Hills.

McIlroy is playing for just the second time since the Masters due to lingering rib pain. He may be a little rusty, so it will be interesting to see what sort of form he brings this week.

Day has a runner-up and a T-15 in his last two starts. He appears focused and ready for a special run after battling an injury of his own, and dealing with his mother's cancer surgery.

Rose finished runner-up at the Masters. Though he is quiet and not usually mentioned among the world's best players on a consistent basis, he should be a threat to earn his second U.S. Open title this week.