D. Johnson grouped with McIlroy, Thomas at Players

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Tee times are out for the PGA Tour's flagship event, and a stacked field has created a number of intriguing groupings. Here's a look at a few of the marquee, early-round trios as players tackle a new-and-improved TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course for The Players Championship (all times ET):

8:16 a.m. Thursday/1:41 p.m. Friday: Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson

This group features three former champions, including the players who have lifted the trophy each of the past two years. Day will look to become the first back-to-back champion in tournament history, while Fowler eyes his seventh straight individual stroke-play result of T-16 or better and Stenson looks to make his first cut since the Valspar Championship.


8:27 a.m. Thursday/1:52 p.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Hideki Matsuyama

Spieth nearly went bogey-free in his Players debut en route to a T-4 finish in 2014, but he has missed the cut each of the last two years. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Mickelson, who won this event in 2007 but remains in search of his first worldwide win in nearly four years, and Matsuyama, who has cooled since his playoff triumph in Phoenix in February.


1:30 p.m. Thursday/8:05 a.m. Friday: Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer

Rahm's fourth-place finish at Wells Fargo continues his torrid 2017 run, and he'll make his TPC Sawgrass debut alongside a pair of former Ryder Cup stalwarts. Rose is making his first individual start since his playoff loss at the Masters while Kaymer returns to the site of his dramatic 2014 triumph when he staved off a late charge from Jim Furyk.


1:41 p.m. Thursday/8:16 a.m. Friday: Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar

Garcia makes his first-ever competitive start as a major champion, and he does so on a layout where he won in 2008 and nearly triumphed on two other occasions. Joining him for the first two rounds will be two players who have also won this event before. It's been 13 years since Scott's victory on the Stadium Course at age 23, while Kuchar won this event five years ago.


1:52 p.m. Thursday/8:27 a.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas

Johnson nearly won again last week in his return from injury, finishing one shot behind Brian Harman at Eagle Point. The world No. 1 is a clear favorite but has not finished better than T-28 in seven prior trips around the Stadium Course. McIlroy has four straight top-12 finishes at this event and makes his first start since his wedding last month, while Thomas hopes to rekindle last year's T-3 finish.