Spieth, ZJ highlight featured groups at Bridgestone

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AKRON, Ohio – After dueling for the claret jug last month, Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson will have plenty of time to swap major stories during the first two rounds of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Spieth and Johnson will tee off at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, followed by a 10:25 a.m. tee time in the second round. Spieth finished one shot out of a playoff at the Open Championship, which Johnson ultimately won, and the two friends shared a plane ride back to the U.S. – complete with Spieth sipping from the trophy that Johnson had just won. With Spieth already capturing the Masters and U.S. Open, the pairing at Firestone Country Club will feature all three major winners from this year.

Here are some other marquee pairings to keep an eye on at the season’s final WGC event (all times ET):

Jason Day, Rickie Fowler: 10:25 a.m. Thursday, 2:15 p.m. Friday

Day is making his first start since a dramatic comeback victory at the RBC Canadian Open, while Fowler finished second last week at the Quicken Loans National. After years of potential not translating into victories, both Day and Fowler have won twice already this season and are in the midst of career years.


Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson: 10:35 a.m. Thursday, 2:25 p.m. Friday

There will be plenty of distance off the tee from this pairing, as Watson and Johnson are two of the three longest hitters this season. Watson is looking for his first top-10 finish in this event after five prior starts, while Johnson is teeing it up for the first time since his weekend implosion at St. Andrews.


Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed: 10:55 a.m. Thursday, 2:45 p.m. Friday

Garcia held the 54-hole lead last year at Firestone before finishing second to Rory McIlroy, and he finished T-6 at the Open in his most recent start. He will be paired with a former Ryder Cup adversary in Reed, who tied for fourth at Firestone last year in his tournament debut.


Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson: 2:25 p.m. Thursday, 10:35 a.m. Friday

Rose and Mickelson are both major champions who came close to big titles earlier this year. The duo shared second place behind Spieth at Augusta National, and Rose also finished T-6 at St. Andrews in his most recent start. While the Englishman won earlier this year in New Orleans, Mickelson’s last title came at the 2013 Open Championship.