(Reuters) - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will continue their long rivalry when they play together in the first two rounds at the PGA Championship in Kentucky next week.
Americans Woods and Mickelson and Irishman Padraig Harrington, the 2008 champion, will tee off in the first round at 8:35 a.m. ET (1235 GMT) on Thursday at Valhalla in Kentucky, and at 1:45 p.m. ET (1745 GMT) on Friday.
The PGA of America could have given Tom Watson, captain of next month’s U.S. Ryder Cup team, a chance to observe up close the two stars, who are in danger of failing to earn automatic spots.
Instead, Watson will play the first two rounds with fellow American Steve Stricker and Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
Five-time major winner Mickelson is 10th in the American standings, while Woods, who won the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla, is 69th after missing most of this year while recovering from back surgery.
The top nine U.S. players after the PGA Championship make the team automatically, while Watson will later select three others to complete his line-up.
The PGA has kept with tradition by grouping the winners of the first three major champions of the year – American Bubba Watson (Masters), German Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (British Open). They will play at 1:45 p.m. ET (1745 GMT) Thursday and 8:35 a.m. ET (1235 GMT) Friday.
World number one Adam Scott of Australia will play with Englishman Lee Westwood and American Jordan Spieth at 8:15 a.m. ET (1215 GMT) and 1:25 p.m. ET (1725 GMT).
Jason Dufner will start his title defense in the company of two other former champions, fellow American Keegan Bradley and South Korean Yang Yong-eun at 1:55 p.m. ET (1755 GMT) and 8:45 a.m. ET (1245 GMT)
The PGA Championship field includes every player ranked in the top 100 in the world.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)