Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson paired for The Players Championship opening two rounds

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Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson paired for The Players Championship opening two rounds

McIlroy is returning to action for the first time since the Masters last month, and it is also his first appearance as a married man after he wed long-time girlfriend Erica Stoll in Ireland a fortnight ago.

Johnson finished a shot behind champion Brian Harman at the Wells Fargo Championship at the weekend in his first outing since a freak back injury forced him to pull out of the Masters just moments before he was due to tee off at Augusta National.

The world's top two players will be joined by rising star Justin Thomas on the first tee on Thursday at 6:52pm (BST), while defending champion and world No 3 Jason Day is in a high-profile threesome with former Sawgrass winners Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.

Day remains without a victory since coasting to a four-shot win in golf's unofficial "fifth major" at the Stadium Course last season, when he led from start to finish after opening with a course-record 63.

The Australian goes out with Fowler and reigning Open champion Stenson from the 10th tee at 1:16pm, and they will be followed 11 minutes later by another heavyweight group featuring Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and world No 4 Hideki Matsuyama.