Rory McIlroy paired with Dustin Johnson at The Open

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at the Austin Country Club on March 24, 2016
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Rory McIlroy will play alongside world number one Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel during the first two rounds of The Open at Birkdale.

Rory McIlroy has been placed alongside Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel for the first two rounds of The Open at Birkdale.

The four-time Major champion has struggled for form in recent weeks, but he remains in the standout group in the North-West of England as he plays the opening 36 holes with the world number one and the 2011 Masters champion.

That group goes off at 2.48pm, BST, but last year's winner Henrik Stenson goes out at 9.47am with two-time Major holder Jordan Spieth and Kim Si-woo.

Sergio Garcia plays alongside Jason Day and 2015 champion Zach Johnson at 1.04pm, while Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood feature in a popular threesome at 2.59pm.

Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Paul Casey will tee off at 1.26pm on Thursday, while US Open champion Brooks Koepka will hope for a fast start when he plays with Hideki Matsuyama and Tommy Fleetwood at 10.09am.

Padraig Harrington - who won this tournament in 2008 when it was last held at Birkdale - features alongside Pat Perez and Thomas Pieters at 9.36am.

Sergio Garcia lines up a putt on the eighth green during the first round of the Honda Classic on February 25, 2016
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