The Open 2017: Defending champion Henrik Stenson to partner Jordan Spieth

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The Open 2016: Henrik Stenson beats Phil Mickelson in final-day battle
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
Live: Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates - including in-play video clips - on BBC Sport website and mobile app. TV highlights on BBC Two. Click for full times.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson will partner former world number one Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds of The Open at Royal Birkdale.

Another eye-catching pairing features current world number one Dustin Johnson playing alongside Rory McIlroy.

Stenson and Spieth, who will be joined by Players champion Kim Si-woo, are among the early starters on Thursday.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia will be joined by Jason Day and Zach Johnson, the 2015 champion.

England's Chris Wood, and Americans Mark O'Meara and Ryan Moore will be the first group away at 06:35 BST.

Stenson carded a joint-record eight-under-par 63 in the final round at Royal Troon in 2016 to win The Open by three shots after an enthralling final-day tussle with Phil Mickelson.

Wedding no distraction for Garcia

Angela Akins and Sergio Garcia
Masters champion Sergio Garcia will marry fiancee Angela Akins after The Open

Spaniard Garcia won his first major at Augusta in April and said victory had given him a "little bit of extra confidence" to try to "push hard and get more majors".

The 37-year-old has twice finished runner-up at The Open, losing a play-off to Ireland's Padraig Harrington in 2007, before finishing joint second with American Rickie Fowler behind Northern Ireland's McIlroy in 2014.

Garcia will also get married to fiancee Angela Akins next week but said the wedding would not affect his focus this week.

"It's The Open so don't worry - it's going to be where it has to be this week," he said.

"Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding and obviously we're really excited for next week.

"But we have something that we're also extremely excited about this week, and we want to be here giving everything we have and hopefully with a chance on Sunday, it would be great."

I've thought of winning since I was five - Fleetwood

Southport-born Tommy Fleetwood, 26, said he feels no added pressure playing on his hometown course as one of the favourites following his fourth-place finish at the US Open in June.

The world number 14 will play the first two rounds alongside US Open champion Brooks Koepka and world number two Hideki Matsuyama, who finished tied second at Erin Hills.

"I've thought about winning The Open since I was five years old so thinking about it for another few days isn't going to make any difference," said Fleetwood.

"It's nice to be spoken of in that light - I find it very flattering. It makes me smile at night."

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