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Tour Report: THE PLAYERS: Notable groups

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tee times for the first two rounds of THE PLAYERS Championship have been released and here are some of the notable groups. Use the comments section below to let us know which groups you’d like to follow.

Webb Simpson/Keegan Bradley/Matt Kuchar – Simpson made a spirited bid to win the Wells Fargo Championship, which is played less than a mile from his home, last weekend before finishing fourth. Bradley finished 22nd or better in his first nine starts this year, while Kuchar, who has four top-10s this year, will be looking to win for the first time since 2010.

Rickie Fowler/Hunter Mahan/Tiger Woods – Fowler finally picked up his first PGA TOUR victory on Sunday, beating Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff in Charlotte. Mahan is the TOUR’s only two-time winner in 2012 while Woods, the 2001 PLAYERS champ, won at Bay Hill for the seventh time in March

Luke Donald/Bill Haas/Lee Westwood – Donald won his fifth PGA TOUR event earlier this year at the Transitions Championship while Westwood, who closed with a 66 on Sunday at Quail Hollow, tied for fourth here last year. Haas, who picked up his fourth TOUR win at Riviera earlier this year, is the defending FedExCup champ.

Rory McIlroy/Phil Mickelson/Steve Stricker – McIlroy, who won The Honda Classic earlier this year, has returned to Sawgrass after a year’s absence on the heels of a playoff loss Sunday.  The world No. 1 will be joined by Mickelson, a former PLAYERS champ, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday, as well as another veteran in Stricker, who won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January.

K.J. Choi/Tim Clark/Sergio Garcia – Choi, the defending champion, is playing with two other former winners. Clark, who had elbow surgery last year, made THE PLAYERS his first PGA TOUR victory in 2010 while Garcia’s 2008 victory was his last on the PGA TOUR.

Jason Dufner/Ben Curtis/Kyle Stanley – This group pits three 2012 champions who got monkeys off their back. Dufner won in New Orleans in his 164th start after taking the lead into the weekend for the seventh time. Curtis ended a six-year victory drought at the Valero Texas Open and Kyle Stanley captured the Waste Management Phoenix Open a week after squandering a seven-stroke lead on Sunday in San Diego.

Geoff Ogilvy/Vijay Singh/Scott Verplank – Ogilvy got untracked a little last week at the Wells Fargo Championship when he posted a 65, his low round of the season, on Saturday. Singh missed the cut but put the free time to good use back home in Ponte Vedra where he has four top-10s in 19 starts, including second in 2001. Verplank was a runner-up at TPC Sawgrass in 2005.

Brandt Snedeker/Ben Crane/Nick Watney – Watney is coming off his best finish of the season at Quail Hollow where he held the second-round lead. Snedeker won the Farmers Insurance Open in February while Crane has three top-10s in his first four starts and has been sixth or better at THE PLAYERS in three of his last four starts.

Louis Oosthuizen/Jason Day/Ian Poulter – Oosthuizen is playing in the U.S. for the first time since he lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff at the Masters. Day, who tied for second at the 2011 Masters, posted his best finish of the year last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. Poulter, who finished second at THE PLAYERS in 2009, has top-10 finishes in his last two starts.

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