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Five opening-round groupings to watch at the PGA Championship

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Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

The groupings for the first two rounds of the PGA Championship are set. With so many notable names playing together, we figured it made sense to highlight five groupings you should keep an eye on this week. There's a good chance a couple of these guys could be in contention for the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday afternoon. (To see all of the tee times, click here.)

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk (Thursday, 8:10 a.m. EST / Friday, 1:20 p.m.) — Dustin Johnson is the only member of this group without a major championship, but he may be the most intriguing name of the bunch. For the South Carolina native, this week's PGA Championship represents a home game of sorts for the 28-year-old. He won earlier this year at the FedEx St. Jude and has two top-20 finishes in his last two starts. McIlroy could be turning the corner after posting his first top-5 finish since May. And Furyk? Well, we probably should just let him be after what transpired on Sunday at the Bridgestone. Usually he'd be a great pick in this spot -- accurate off the tee, solid ball-striker -- but it's tough go back to the well after his second final-round mishap in the last couple months.

Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods (Thursday, 8:30 a.m. / Friday, 1:40 p.m.) — Thanks to Keegan Bradley's win, TNT doesn't have to worry about showing showing shot-after-shot of Tiger Woods' round. They can use Bradley's strong play as an excuse! While Kaymer, Woods and Bradley are obviously some of the biggest names in the field at Kiawah, only Bradley managed to make the weekend last year at Atlanta Athletic Club, after Woods and Kaymer missed the cut. Woods comes into the tournament off back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time since 2009. Kaymer, on the other hand, hasn't posted a top-10 since the Maybank Malaysian Open back in April. How do you say "yuck" in German?

Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia (Thursday, 1:10 p.m. / Friday, 8 a.m.) — Like a number of guys in this week's field, Mahan has something extra on the line: Locking up an automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team. Despite having two wins this year, he's currently ninth in the standings and needs a big week to leapfrog Mickelson and ensure he doesn't have to wait around for Davis Love III to announce his name as a captain's pick. Adam Scott, like Furyk, is off-limits this week. The Aussie talked up his major chances Firestone, but failed to get anything going. Scott may disagree, but it will likely take some time before we see him in contention at another major. And then there's Sergio Garcia, who has two top-3 finishes in his last six PGA Championship starts. He always seems to be on the first page of the leader board at some point during the week.

Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els (Thursday, 1:20 p.m. / Friday, 8:10 a.m.) — Just call this the "One Ernie and two new dads" pairing. Webb and Bubba both have new kiddos at home, while Ernie ... well, he's finally coming around to the idea that he's a four-time major champion. Webb Simpson has the game to contend at Kiawah; however, he's spent a month away from the sport waiting for the birth of his second child. Just like Bubba Watson coming off an extended break following his Masters win, it's difficult to see him being much of a factor. Bubba, on the other hand, found something over the last couple of weeks -- two consecutive top-25 finishes -- and could be a serious contender if the driver behaves.

Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III (Thursday, 1:40 p.m. / 8:30 a.m.) — Padraig Harrington gets a prime seat for Phil Mickelson's dress rehearsal ahead of the Ryder Cup, after the PGA of America decided to add current American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III to the group. It wouldn't be a huge deal, except Mickelson is on the verge of missing out on a automatic berth if he stumbles this week. Good or bad, Love will get to witness for the Mickelson Show. Assuming he doesn't like what he sees, he could pass on Mickelson as a captain's pick and go with someone who's in form. This group promises to be incredibly awkward.

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