PGA Championship: McIlroy grouped with Woods and Thomas at Bellerive

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds of next week’s PGA Championship alongside defending champion Justin Thomas.

The star threeball, who also played together at the Genesis Open earlier this year, will start the centenary edition of the tournament on the 10th tee at Bellerive Country Club, striking their opening blows at 4:23pm (BST).

Woods collected his fourth PGA title in 2007 but remains without a major victory for over 10 years, while McIlroy’s second victory in the event in fading light at Valhalla in 2014 is his most recent win in a Grand Slam event.

World No 3 Thomas showed impressive composure down the stretch to earn his maiden major at Quail Hollow last year, earning a two-stroke win over last month’s Open champion Francesco Molinari and Louis Oosthuizen.

The trio will be the headline act over the first two days at the St Louis venue, where Molinari will play with Masters champion Patrick Reed and back-to-back US Open winner Brooks Koepka in the traditional grouping of the three major winners of the season.

World No 2 Justin Rose will also attract a large following as he goes out with Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth, who can complete a career Grand Slam of majors at the age of just 25 with a win next week.

Dustin Johnson, who extended his lead at the top of the world rankings with his win in Canada last week, plays with the in-form Bubba Watson and former Masters champion Adam Scott, while Phil Mickelson headlines another collection of former PGA winners with Jason Day and Keegan Bradley.

England’s Eddie Pepperell has an early start on Thursday as he plays in the first group out from the first tee at 6:50am local time with Irish Open runner-up Ryan Fox and PGA club pro Michael Block.