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Big guns paired together

Just like last year, the top three players in the world have been paired together in the opening round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami on Thursday.

It means new number one Rory McIlroy will tee off with Luke Donald, the man he deposed by winning the Honda Classic last weekend, and also Lee Westwood, the former stablemate he beat in the semi-finals of the Accenture Match Play two weeks ago.

Last March it was Donald, Westwood and Martin Kaymer who were grouped together at the start of the season's second world championship, with the German having just taken over at the top from Westwood, and because Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were fifth and sixth on the rankings they also went head-to-head.

This time Woods, runner-up to McIlroy on Sunday after a spectacular closing 62, is with defending champion Nick Watney and Spain's Sergio Garcia. They are currently 16th, 17th and 18th in the world - and Watney beat Woods in Arizona a fortnight ago.

Twelfth-ranked Mickelson, meanwhile, plays with Hunter Mahan, who beat McIlroy in the final of the Match Play, and Australian Adam Scott, winner of the Bridgestone world championship last August.

The draw also includes Ian Poulter, who was testing his fitness today after rating himself 50-50 for the event after pulling out of last week's tournament and being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Fellow Englishman Paul Casey is all set to play for the first time since dislocating his shoulder snowboarding in Colorado on Christmas Eve.

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