The Open: McIlroy and Johnson grouped together at Birkdale, Spieth to play with Stenson

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World number one Dustin Johnson will play alongside Rory McIlroy in the first two rounds of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, while reigning champion Henrik Stenson has been grouped with Jordan Spieth in another stand-out threeball.

The draw for Thursday and Friday was announced on Monday after Stenson had returned the Claret Jug in a ceremony on the first tee.

Johnson and McIlroy, who have each been hampered by injuries in recent months, will be joined by Charl Schwartzel for the opening rounds on England's north-west coast. The high-profile group is due out at 2:48pm local time on Thursday and 9:47am the following morning.

Kim Si-woo of South Korea will go out with Stenson and Spieth, while U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka is playing with local favourite Tommy Fleetwood and world number two Hideki Matsuyama.

Other notable groups see Masters champion Sergio Garcia together with Jason Day and 2015 Open winner Zach Johnson, while Jon Rahm is alongside Lee Westwood and Patrick Reed. 

Phil Mickelson - the runner-up to Stenson in last year's thrilling duel at Royal Troon - will be joined by Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman.

Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Paul Casey will play together and Thursday's first group - out at 6:35am - is comprised of Mark O'Meara, the Open champion at Birkdale 19 years ago, Chris Wood and Ryan Moore.