London: Holder Louis Oosthuizen has been drawn to play alongside world number six Phil Mickelson and US PGA champion Martin Kaymer in the first round of the British Open, organisers announced.
Oosthuizen, Mickelson and Kaymer will tee-off at 1421 local time on Thursday. Their three-ball is one of several eye-catching groupings set for the Royal St George`s course in the south east corner of England.
Rory McIlroy, the runaway winner of last month`s US Open, teams up with 2002 British Open champion Ernie Els and young American prospect Rickie Fowler.
World number one Luke Donald, winner of the Scottish Open on Sunday, was drawn with his former Ryder Cup partner Sergio Garcia and Japan`s Ryo Ishikawa.
Lee Westwood, ranked two in the world, will play alongside Sunday`s John Deere Classic winner Steve Stricker and US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Oosthuizen, a rank outsider at last year`s championship, romped to a shock seven-shot victory at St Andrews to claim his first major title.
The 28-year-old South African missed the cut at last week`s John Deere Classic and at the US Masters in April but will take heart from a strong showing at the US Open, having finished tied ninth at Congressional.
Oosthuizen said he would be searching for his `A game` in practice over the next two days.
"In every major you tee off you just want to try and find your game," he told reporters. "You just want to make good swings that steer you around.”
"I didn`t go in with great form at the British Open last year but found a few things on the Monday and the Tuesday while practising and just played really nicely the whole week, found my rhythm very well with my swing and putted beautifully."
The 140th British Open carries a record prize fund of five million pounds, with 900,000 pounds going to the winner.
"I probably didn`t feel that confident last year going into the tournament but after the first round I knew the game was there and it was just a matter of keeping everything together," added Oosthuizen.