Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Royal Lytham and St Anne's in northern England.

Lytham, England - Former world number one Tiger Woods will play alongside Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the opening two rounds of this week's British Open.

Woods, Spaniard Garcia and Briton Rose will tee off at 09h42 (08h42 GMT) in Thursday's first round.

The 36-year-old American is looking to end a four-year drought in major championships, having won the last of his 14 “big four” titles at the 2008 US Open.

Garcia, 32, and Rose, 31, are among the best modern-day players never to have won a major.

Among the other highlights of Monday's draw was the grouping of world number one Luke Donald with American left-hander Phil Mickelson and Australian Geoff Ogilvy at 14h43.

World number two Rory McIlroy will partner 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and 2011 US PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley at 14h21.

Lee Westwood, the world number three, was drawn with crowd-pleasing US Masters champion Bubba Watson and Japan's Yoshinori Fujimoto.

“You always expect Lee to do well,” big-hitting American Watson told reporters. “It seems like every major he is in, he's in the top five.

“He's a great player. Even if he starts off slow he fights back and has a chance to win.”

Title holder Darren Clarke will play alongside triple major champion Ernie Els and former US Masters winner Zach Johnson.

The honour of striking the first blow of the 141st edition of the championship will fall to Britain's Barry Lane at 06h19. - Reuters