Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson paired together at U.S. Open

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There are certain days on the sports calendar where it's OK to call in sick and skip work. Opening day, the NCAA tournament, and the opening rounds of the Masters? Yep, all three of those are worth perfecting your fake cough to spend the day on your couch.

Well, friends, you may want to add another event to that list: the opening rounds of the U.S. Open. On Thursday, the USGA released the pairings for the second major, and wouldn't you know it, it gave golf fans an early Christmas present in the form of a Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson "pairing" — they tee off on Thursday at 10:33 a.m. ET, and 4:18 p.m. ET on Friday.

If you need to justify staying at home to watch three of the best golfers in the world playing in the same group, well, you probably need to get your head examined. When it comes to early round pairings, it doesn't get any bigger than this.

[Also: Tiger Woods enters U.S. Open as the favorite once again]

Also, if you're planning to be at Olympic Club next week, you may want to bring your golf periscope with you, because there's no way you're going to be able to see these guys unless you elbow your way to the front of the gallery. And even that could be a tall task.

But Tiger, Phil and Bubba aren't the only big names paired together for the first two rounds. Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald also will be grouped together, as will Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa and Dustin Johnson, and Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Dufner. Based on those four pairings, you may want to camp out in front of your TV the entire week.

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