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Featured groups: Deutsche Bank Championship

Golf Talk Central
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Here are seven groups to watch this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Click here for a complete list of first-round tee times at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.

7:52 a.m. Friday (10 tee): Ian Poulter, Ben Crane, Kevin Na

What did Poulter do to deserve this? The colorful Englishman is paired with two of the most, um, deliberate players on the PGA Tour. At least the trio tees off early Friday – no concerns about finishing before dark.

Ian Poulter tweet

8:16 a.m. (10 tee): Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker

If only these benevolent chaps would engage in 36 holes of Ryder Cup trash-talk. If nothing else, though, fans will be treated to a delightful display of shotmaking. Donald has a history of good results at TPC Boston, and the Englishman could return to world No. 1 with another stellar week.

8:28 a.m. (10 tee): Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Carl Pettersson

Hope the group ahead is playing quickly. It’s a long-bomber alert here, with Johnson and Watson trading titanium-denting blasts. Let’s hope they engage in a few impromptu long-drive contests throughout the round.

8:40 a.m. (10 tee): Nick Watney, Brandt Snedeker, Tiger Woods

You know at least one man will be watching this group: Davis Love III. Two Ryder Cup hopefuls in the same group, playing alongside Woods, who has more pull than any other team member? With the captain’s selections looming next Tuesday, it doesn’t get much juicier than this.

12:46 p.m. (1 tee): Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler

The most fan-friendly group of the week. You never know what Phil will do next; at The Barclays, he experimented with the claw putting grip. And Fowler is contending for one of the four captain’s picks, so he needs a good week at TPC Boston.

12:58 p.m. (1 tee): Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley

Kooch and Bradley already have locked up spots on the Ryder Cup team, while Mahan is fading fast. With only one top 10 since April, Mahan likely needs another one in Boston or risks being left off the team.

1:10 p.m. (1 tee): Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner

Further proof that golf at the elite level takes on many different forms. McIlroy’s athletic, powerful swing is among the best in the game; Johnson, meanwhile, is one of the game’s ultimate grinders. Rory and Duf have two of the coolest struts in golf, too.