Rory McIlroy grouped with Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka at Colonial

Will Gray
Golf Channel

The top three players in the world will spend some time together as the PGA Tour returns to competition this week for the first time in nearly three months.

The Charles Schwab Challenge marks the first official event since The Players was canceled after the opening round in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy headlines the stacked field in Fort Worth, where each of the top five players in the world will participate.

McIlroy will have a close eye on the players nearest to him in the rankings, joined by No. 2 Jon Rahm and No. 3 Brooks Koepka for the first two rounds. Here's a look at some of the other early-round featured groupings, all of which can be viewed via PGA Tour Live or during Golf Channel's coverage from Fort Worth (actual tee times will be announced later in the week):

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka

McIlroy will be making his tournament debut, hoping to extend his run of top-5 finishes that dates back to October and includes his WGC victory in Shanghai. Rahm and Koepka have both finished second at Colonial in recent years, with Rahm coming up one shot short against Kevin Kisner in 2017 and Koepka unable to keep pace with Justin Rose the following year. Rahm has been a top-10 machine since last year's U.S. Open, while Koepka remains in search of his first top-10 since the Tour Championship.

Rory McIlroy listed as betting favorite at Colonial

Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler

The Spring Break boys are back. There will be plenty of familiarity among this trio of longtime friends, headlined by Thomas who has already won twice on Tour this season. Spieth captured this event in 2016 and has compiled five top-10 finishes in seven appearances, while Fowler will face Colonial for the eighth time having already racked up three top-20 results including a T-5 showing in 2012.

Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose

DeChambeau spent his quarantine getting stronger and longer, and he'll put his eye-popping Trackman numbers to the test on a course where he has missed the cut in three of four prior appearances. Johnson is making his third tournament appearance but just his second since 2009, while Rose shattered scoring records en route to a clinical victory here two years ago but now will be making his first start since announcing his departure from equipment manufacturer Honma.

Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland

Mickelson won this event in both 2000 and 2008, but he'll be making just his second appearance since a missed cut back in 2010. Na returns as the defending champion, having outpaced Tony Finau last year after finishing fourth the year prior. Woodland's U.S. Open title defense will wait until September, and this week he'll be making just his second start at Colonial after missing the secondary cut back in 2012.

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