Rory paired with big hitters

Tiger Woods has been paired with debutant Bae Sang-moon and Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez for the first two rounds of The Masters, while Rory McIlroy will be partnered by former champion Angel Cabrera and American Bubba Watson.

The full list of first and second round pairings were announced by Augusta National officials on Tuesday, although they did not feature world number 12 Dustin Johnson who was forced to pull out of the tournament with a back injury leaving a field of 96 players.

Twelve months on McIlroy finds himself back with Cabrera, it was the Argentine who watched the 22-year-old Northern Irishman take 80 on the final day last year, although he was not the one to take advantage – the 2009 winner came seventh, five behind South African Charl Schwartzel.

Big-hitting left-hander Watson is the other member of the three-ball this time and they have a long wait before starting their challenges.

A 1.42pm tee-off time (6.42pm BST) means they are in the penultimate group on the opening day, with three-time winner Phil Mickelson, Sunday’s Houston Open champion Hunter Mahan and Swede Peter Hanson bringing up the rear.

Woods goes out much earlier, his bid for a fifth green jacket – and a first major title since 2008 – starts at 10.35am (3.35pm BST) alongside Jimenez and Korean Bae, while England’s world number one Luke Donald is immediately behind with Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari and American Nick Watney.

They will be the last group onto Augusta National in the second round.

Lee Westwood, runner-up to Mickelson two years ago and still without a major, plays with 2000 champion Vijay Singh and 2003 US Open champion Jim Furyk at 12.58pm.

Craig Stadler, winner 30 years ago, will hit the first shot of the tournament at 7.50am local time – 10 minutes after Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have hit ceremonial drives from the first tee as official starters.

They used to be golf’s ‘Big Three’, of course, and it is the first time for Player in the role.

First of the Europeans into action is Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal – champion in 1994 and 1999 – just after 8am (1pm BST), with 1999 Open winner Paul Lawrie in the next group on his return to the event after a gap of eight years.