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Watch: Feature groups' opening two holes as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods begin with birdies at Genesis Open

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy says he's ready to embrace playing alongside one of his heroes in a competitive tournament once again.

The Holywood man tees off alongside former world number one Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas in the first two rounds of this weekend's Genesis Open at at Riviera Country Club.

Rory last teed it up along with Tiger in a professional competition in the final round of the 2015 Masters. The trio begin this afternoon at 3.22pm GMT. Their second round starts at 8.02pm GMT on Friday evening.

Watch their first two holes here as Tiger and Rory both start with birdies:

McIlroy himself will be hoping for better after a second round 74 led ultimately to a missed 54-hole cut at last week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. And now he'll have to guard against similar slips in the marquee group.

"I wouldn't have minded a nice quiet couple of days on Thursday and Friday, but any time you have a chance to play in a group like that you relish it and embrace it," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I would rather be in this group than not, and whenever you get a chance to play alongside one of your heroes it's always nice."

Rory's second round collapse last week included a FIVE putt double bogey - an admittedly rare lapse in what has been a promising start to his 2018 season. The missed cut followed more impressive finishes the other side of the atlantic; tied third in Abu Dhabi and second in Dubai.

"I had a bit of wobble on the greens on Friday, but I didn't put that down to anything more than just surfaces weren't ideal and I let it get into my head a little bit," he explained.

"The great thing about golf, every week you start everyone's level again and you get to go again and work on things. I still view the start of the season to be quite good for me in terms of what I've done and the progress I've made on my game.

"Obviously, results-wise last week at least wasn't what I wanted, but I still saw a lot of good stuff in there."

Ahead of the 2018 season, McIlroy had tipped Woods to 'stun the world' with his latest injury comeback.

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