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Woods drawn with Rose, Villegas at British Open

Tiger Woods in practice for the 139th British Open at St Andrews.
Tiger Woods in practice for the 139th British Open at St Andrews.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods to play alongside Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas at British Open
  • Woods seeking third successive victory at St Andrews after 2000 and 2005 wins
  • Masters champion Phil Mickelson drawn with Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen
  • Defending champion Stewart Cink alongside Ernie Els and Ian Poulter

(CNN) -- World number one Tiger Woods will play alongside in-form Englishman Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas of Colombia in the first two rounds of golf's British Open at St Andrews, starting on Thursday.

Woods, the American world number one, is bidding to win at the so-called Home of Golf for the third time after resounding victories at the Scottish links course in 2000 and 2005.

Woods is looking to resurrect his career after taking a break following his admission of extra-marital affairs. The 34-year-old is yet to rediscover his top form and finished fourth at this year's Masters and US Open.

"Everyone has had distractions in their lives," Woods said, AFP reported. "I think that my life out here on tour is becoming more normalized, getting out here and talking about the game of golf.

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"I'm starting to head in the right direction. I've just got to be more consistent and string together more rounds like I did on Saturday at the Open," he added, in reference to his third round 66 at Pebble Beach.

Rose, ranked 16th, could also be a contender for the title after winning two of his last three events on the PGA Tour, while Villegas is one of the sport's most exciting talents and has risen to no.17 in the world.

"I'm looking forward to the week and I'm looking forward to [playing with Woods], Rose said, the U.K. Press Association reported.

"I wasn't concerned one way or the other - you've got to play the course and a St Andrews Open is the iconic thing. No-one is bigger than that this week."

Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who could displace Woods as world number one at St Andrews, has been drawn with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen of South Africa.

Stewart Cink, who promised a "fiercely competitive" defense of his title in an interview with CNN last week, is alongside 2002 winner Ernie Els and Ian Poulter.

Five-time champion Tom Watson, who lost to Cink in a play-off at Turnberry last year, will play with two-time winner Padraig Harrington and Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa.

Meanwhile, world number four Steve Stricker, who successfully defended his John Deere Classic title in Illinois on Sunday, is alongside Spain's Sergio Garcia and Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan.

American veteran Paul Goydos earned the final qualifying place available for St Andrews by finishing second to Stricker in the John Deere.