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    Masters Groupings Promise Lots of Drama

    Nicklaus and Palmer Honorary Starters
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus (L) and Arnold Palmer (R) chat on the first tee during the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2010.

    The 75th Masters is scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. Thursday with honorary tee shots from Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, winners of a combined 10 Masters titles and the two dominant players of their era.

    Fittingly, the two players currently atop the Official World Golf Ranking will play together on Thursday and Friday, according to the groupings announced Tuesday.

    Germany's Martin Kaymer, ranked No. 1, and Lee Westwood of England, No. 2, will be joined by Matt Kuchar for a 10:19 a.m. tee time Thursday. Kaymer, who won the PGA Championship last year, took over the No. 1 spot from Westwood in February. Westwood finished runner-up at last year's Masters and British Open.

    Defending Masters champion Phil Mickelson's quest for a fourth Green Jacket will begin at 1:48 p.m. He'll be grouped with Australian Geoff Ogilvy and amateur Peter Uihlein, continuing the tradition of the current Masters and U.S. Amateur champions playing the first two rounds together.

    For Mickelson, the later the starting time the better.

    "I just like going off in the afternoons," he said. "For me, the course seems to calm down then. What I'd really like is the last tee time every day."

    Tiger Woods' quest for a fifth Masters title will start at 10:41 a.m. In his group will be reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Robert Allenby of Australia. Should Woods win this year's Masters, he would move past Palmer (four) and into second place behind Nicklaus (six) in all-time Masters victories.

    Two marquee pairings should be particularly interesting to watch.

    At 8:40 a.m., Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney and Adam Scott of Australia will unleash their powerful swings in conditions with temperatures expected in the high 70s to low 80s.

    The other features young stars Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Jason Day of Australia. Fowler and Day are playing in their first Masters. The group will tee off at 9:24 a.m. Gates are scheduled to open at 7:25 a.m.