USA TODAY US Edition

Featured pairings

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Golfers aren’t athletes. Huh? OK, then check out the pairing of Tiger Woods (hits it long), Dustin Johnson (hits it longer) and Gary Woodland (maybe the longest on the PGA Tour).

Woods is a weight-room fanatic, and his coach, Sean Foley, says his pupil is “an athlete who plays golf.” Johnson can dunk a basketball barefoot, and his grandfathe­r made the University of South Carolina Hall of Fame as a 6-4 center. And Woodland played on a championsh­ip-caliber traveling baseball team as a teen, was an all-state high school basketball player who played one year of Division II college basketball at Washburn University (Kansas). And he hit a 285-yard 2-iron on the 72nd hole in his win last week in the Transition­s.

“That’s exciting,” Woodland said of playing with Woods (12:56 p.m. ET Thursday; 8:26 a.m. Friday).

Said Woods: “I’ll be the Corey Pavin of my group. Seriously. I’ll just kind of put it out there in play and put it up on the green and try and make putts. Those guys will be bombing it way out there past me.”

Another featured pairing has Ernie Els beginning defense of his title alongside Ian Poulter and Jhonattan Vegas (1:08 p.m. Thursday; 8:38 a.m. Friday). And Phil Mickelson is playing with Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan (8:26 a.m. Thursday; 12:56 p.m. Friday).

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