Michael Hoey will play with John Daly and Chad Campbell for the first two days at Royal Lytham. Photo Jenny Matthews/www.golffile.ieMichael Hoey drew an early morning start with “Wild Thing” John Daly in the Open and confessed - I can’t wait.

The Belfast ace will make his second Open appearance since his debut at Lytham in 2001 alongside flamboyant 1995 champion Daly and three-time US Ryder Cup star Chad Campbell at 7.25 am on Thursday

Hoey joked: “If this rain keeps up will anyone be watching? But if there is a big crowd it would be awesome and it won’t worry me.

“At the Irish Open I played in the group behind Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell and there were thousands following the play. It was great.”

Ernie Els, 42, goes out with Zach Johnson and defending champion Darren Clarke hoping to draw inspiration from the Ulsterman’s win last year.

Chasing a fourth major win in his 40s and his first since the 2002 Open, Els said: “I’m the same age Darren was last year and I’d obviously love to do what he did - he showed some great courage.

“He is a great old friend of mine - we have been playing golf together since we turned pro. It is going to be lot of fun.”

McDowell goes out with Dustin Johnson and Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita with Rory McIlroy an afternoon starter on Thursday alongside fellow major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley.

Two-time winner Harrington is in the next group with US starlet Rickie Fowler and Austrian amateur Manuel Trappel while Amateur champion Alan Dunbar from Portrush drew American world No 8 Matt Kuchar and Aussie Adam Scott, the world No 13.

The Open
Selected tee-times 1st round (2nd rd)

7:25    (12:26) John Daly, Chad Campbell, MICHAEL HOEY
8:42    (1:43) Adam Scott, ALAN DUNBAR (A), Matt Kuchar
9:09    (2:10) DARREN CLARKE, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson
9:20    (2:21) Lee Westwood,  Yoshinori Fujimoto, Bubba Watson
9:31    (2:32) Dustin Johnson, GRAEME MCDOWELL, Hiroyuki Fujita    
9:42    (2:43) Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia
2:21    (9:09) RORY MCILROY, Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley
2:32    (9:20) Rickie Fowler, PADRAIG HARRINGTON, Manuel Trappel (A)