Ernie Els to begin Open defence alongside Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker

Ernie Els of South Africa holds the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championship on July 22, 2012
© AP Photos
Ernie Els is placed alongside US Open champion Justin Rose and FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds of his Open defence at Muirfield.

Ernie Els will play the first two rounds of his defence of The Open alongside US Open champion Justin Rose and FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker at Muirfield.

Els snatched his second Open title as Adam Scott crumbled at Royal Lytham & St Annes last year, with Snedeker coming home joint-third next to Tiger Woods.

World number one Woods will be joined by Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

Rory McIlroy has been placed alongside yesterday's Scottish Open winner Phil Mickelson and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, while Scott, who won his first Major at The Masters earlier this year, is joined by Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald.

Perhaps the most crowd-pleasing group is that of big-hitters Bubba Watson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Dustin Johnson.

You can follow live text updates of all four days at Muirfeld right here on Sports Mole.

First and second round tee-off times:

6.32am, 11.33am: Peter Senior (Aus), Lloyd Saltman (Sco), Oliver Fisher (Eng)
6.43am, 11.44am: Robert Karlsson (Swe), Todd Hamilton (USA), Brian Stow (A, Eng)
6.54am, 11.55am: Thomas Aiken (RSA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Bud Cauley (USA)
7.05am, 12.06pm: Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Brooks Koepka (USA), Wu Ashun (Chn)
7.16am, 12.17pm: David Duval (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Chris Wood (Eng)
7.27am, 12.28pm: Scott Stallings (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Richard McEvoy (Eng)
7.38am, 12.39pm: KJ Choi (Kor), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Jimmy Walker (USA)
7.49am, 12.50pm: Ben Curtis (USA), Shane Lowry (Ire), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
8am, 1.01pm: Jonas Blixt (Swe), Brian Davis (Eng), Graeme Delaet (Can)
8.11am, 1.12pm: Robert Garrigus (USA), John Senden (Aus), Marc Warren (Sco)
8.22am, 1.23pm: Martin Kaymer (Ger), Garrick Porteous (A, Eng), Jason Day (Aus)
8.33am, 1.34pm: Carl Pettersson (Swe), Jason Dufner (USA), David Lynn (Eng)
8.44am, 1.45pm: Bubba Watson (USA), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Dustin Johnson (USA)
9am, 2.01pm: Sir Nick Faldo (Eng), Tom Watson (USA), Fred Couples (USA)
9.11am, 2.12pm: Justin Rose (Eng), Ernie Els (RSA), Brandt Snedeker (USA)
9.22am, 2.23pm: Ian Poulter (Eng), Keegan Bradley (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)
9.33am, 2.34pm: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Richard Sterne (RSA), Nick Watney (USA)
9.44am, 2.45pm: Rory McIlroy (NIR), Hideki Matsuyama (Jap), Phil Mickelson (USA)
9.55am, 2.56pm: Scott Piercy (USA), Tim Clark (RSA), Kevin Streelman (USA)
10.06am, 3.07pm: Zach Johnson (USA), Shingo Katayama (Jap), Thomas Bjorn (Den)
10.17am, 3.18pm: Angel Cabrera (Arg), Camilo Villegas (Col), Tamo Goya (Arg)
10.28am, 3.29pm: George Coetzee (RSA), Ken Duke (USA), Mark Calcavecchia (USA)
10.39am, 3.40pm: John Huh (USA), Brendan Jones (Aus), Kim Hyung-Sung (Kor)
10.50am, 3.51pm: Josh Teater (USA), Steven Tiley (Eng), Jimmy Mullen (A, Eng)
11.01am, 4.02pm: Kim KT (Kor), Steven Jeffress (Aus) Luke Guthrie (USA)
11.12am, 4.13pm: John Wade (Aus), Gareth Wright (Wal), Makuto Inoue (Jap)
11.33am, 6.32am: Danny Willett (Eng), Yang YE (Kor), Johnson Wagner (USA)
11.44am, 6.43am: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Lucas Glover (USA), Oscar Floren (Swe)
11.55am, 6.54am: Boo Weekley (USA), Sandy Lyle (Sco), Niclas Fasth (Swe)
12.06pm, 7.05am: Marcus Fraser (Aus), Grant Forrest (A, Sco), Mark O'Meara (USA)
12.17pm, 7.16am: Tom Lehman (USA), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Fredrik Jacobson (Swe)
12.28pm, 7.27am: Justin Leonard (USA), Rhys Pugh (A, Wal), Marc Leishman (Aus)
12.39pm, 7.38am: Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Kyle Stanley (USA), Alexander Noren (Swe)
12.50pm, 7.49am: Russell Henley (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA), Matthew Fitzpatrick (A, Eng)
1.01pm, 8am: Padraig Harrington (Ire), Michael Thompson (USA), Richie Ramsey (Sco)
1.12pm, 8.11am: Vijay Singh (Fij), Darren Clarke (NIR), Martin Laird (Sco)
1.23pm, 8.22am: Ryan Moore (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe) Steven Fox (A, USA)
1.34pm, 8.33am: Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Jim Furyk (USA), Paul Lawrie (Sco)
1.45pm, 8.44am: Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Harris English (USA), Stephen Gallagher (Sco)
2.01pm, 9am: Lee Westwood (Eng), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Sergio Garcia (Spa)
2.12pm, 9.11am: Adam Scott (Aus), Matt Kuchar (USA), Luke Donald (Eng)
2.23pm, 9.22am: Rickie Fowler (USA), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Hunter Mahan (USA)
2.34pm, 9.33am: Peter Hanson (Swe), Hiroyuki Fujita (Jap), Bill Haas (USA)
2.45pm, 9.44am: Tiger Woods (USA), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
2.56pm, 9.55am: Webb Simpson (USA), Branden Grace (RSA), Jamie Donaldson (Wal)
3.07pm, 10.06am: Francesco Molinari (Ita), Toru Tanaguchi (Jap), Bo van Pelt (USA)
3.18pm, 10.17am: D A Points (USA), Brett Rumford (Aus), Marcel Siem (Ger)
3.29pm, 10.28am: George Murray (Sco), Mark Brown (NZL), Justin Harding (RSA)
3.40pm, 10.39am: Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Scott Jamieson (Sco), Shiv Kapur (Ind)
3.51pm, 10.50am: Scott Brown (USA), Satoshi Kodaira (Jap), Gareth Maybin (NIR)
4.02pm, 11.01am: Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Eduardo de la Riva (Spa), Kenichi Kuboya (Jap)
4.13pm, 11.12am: Stephen Dartnall (Aus), Darryn Lloyd (RSA), Daisuke Maruyama (Jap)

Phil Mickelson reacts after his birdie putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament on June 13, 2013
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