By Jim McCabe, Golfweek

AKRON, Ohio – There are still two rounds left to the Bridgestone Invitational, yet it’s the first round of next week’s PGA Championship that grabbed a bit of the spotlight at Firestone CC Friday.

That’s what happens when pairings are released more than six days ahead of time.

Even before Phil Mickelson closed out a round of 1-under 69 to settle into a share of 28th, the buzz in the media center was of the left-hander’s pairing alongside Davis Love next Thursday afternoon at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

OK, so it wasn’t a “buzz.” More like a light murmur, but Mickelson’s grouping seems a bit strange. Usually in a Ryder Cup year, if a captain is playing it’s not out of the ordinary to put him beside a possible captain’s pick. Mickelson is hardly the sort of guy one would think has to “try out” for the captain, but anyway, he’ll be with Davis Love and Padraig Harrington in the 1:40 group off of the first tee.

Mickelson, Love, and Harrington, of course, are all former PGA Championship winners and that’s a customary move by the PGA of America. Shaun Micheel, David Toms, and John Daly are also together, as are Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem, and Vijay Singh.

Oh, and there’s another trio of former PGA champs – the marquee group at 8:30 a.m. Thursday from No. 10. Tiger Woods will push off with Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer.

Chances are, Bradley and Woods won’t find common talk in the 2011 PGA. While Bradley has fond memories of his win at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Woods missed the cut.

There are two holes in the pairings – spots saved for the winners of this week’s Bridgestone Invitational and Reno-Tahoe Open. The fact that it’s virtually a lock that the winner here at Firestone will already be qualified for the PGA Championship is good news for William McGirt. As first alternate, McGirt can almost count himself in, most likely in the 2:30 p.m. group alongside Paul Scaletta and Robert Allenby.

Here's a look at the pairings and tee times for next week's PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina:

• • •

1st tee (Thursday), 10th tee (Friday)

7:20 a.m., 12:30 p.m.: Kelly Mitchum, D.A. Points, Marcel Siem

7:30 a.m., 12:40 p.m.:
John Senden, Ken Duke, Michael Frye

7:40 a.m., 12:50 p.m.: Greg Chalmers, Spencer Levin, Michael Thompson

7:50 a.m., 1 p.m.: Thomas Bjorn, Robert Garrigus, Charley Hoffman

8 a.m., 1:10 p.m.: Lucas Glover, Ben Curtis, Trevor Immelman

8:10 a.m., 1:20 p.m.: Scott Stallings, Jeev Milkha Singh, Johnson Wagner

8:20 a.m., 1:30 p.m.: Shaun Micheel, David Toms, John Daly

8:30 a.m., 1:40 p.m.: Bernd Wiesberger, Ryan Palmer, Robert Karlsson

8:40 a.m., 1:50 p.m.: Alvaro Quiros, Cameron Tringale, Ryan Moore

8:50 a.m., 2 p.m.: Tommy Gainey, Jason Day, Carl Pettersson

9 a.m., 2:10 p.m.: Mike Small, Brian Davis, John Huh

9:10 a.m., 2:20 p.m.: Sean O'Hair, Brian Cairns, Seung-Yul Noh

9:20 a.m., 2:30 p.m.:
Ben Crane, Marty Jertson, Thongchai Jaidee

• • •

10th tee (Thursday), 1st tee (Friday)

7:20 a.m., 12:30 p.m.:
Matteo Manassero, Charles Howell III, Mark Brown

7:30 a.m., 12:40 p.m.: Pat Perez, Corey Prugh, Martin Laird

7:40 a.m., 12:50 p.m.: Toru Taniguchi, Rory Sabbatini, Rafael Cabrera-Bello

7:50 a.m., 1 p.m.: Jose Maria Olazabal, Branden Grace, Matt Dobyns

8 a.m., 1:10 p.m.: Darren Clarke, Ryo Ishikawa, Gary Woodland

8:10 a.m., 1:20 p.m.:
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk

8:20 a.m., 1:30 p.m.:
Jason Dufner, Paul Casey, Geoff Ogilvy

8:30 a.m., 1:40 p.m.: Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods

8:40 a.m., 1:50 p.m.: Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Steve Stricker

8:50 a.m., 2 p.m.: Lee Westwood, Bill Haas, Angel Cabrera

9 a.m., 2:10 p.m.: Stewart Cink, Peter Hanson, Tim Clark

9:10 a.m., 2:20 p.m.: Jeff Coston, Bud Cauley, Robert Rock

9:20 a.m., 2:30 p.m.: Joost Luiten, Alan Morin, Thomas Aiken

• • •

1st tee (Thursday), 10th tee (Friday)

12:30 p.m., 7:20 a.m.: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, George McNeill, Frank Bensel

12:40 p.m., 7:30 a.m.: Brendon de Jonge, Danny Balin, Hiroyuki Fujita

12:50 p.m., 7:40 a.m.: John Rollins, Kyle Stanley, Francesco Molinari

1 p.m., 7:50 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Rickie Fowler, Nicolas Colsaerts

1:10 p.m., 8 a.m.: Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia

1:20 p.m., 8:10 a.m.: Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els

1:30 p.m., 8:20 a.m.: Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson

1:40 p.m., 8:30 a.m.: Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III

1:50 p.m., 8:40 a.m.: Scott Piercy, Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar

2 p.m., 8:50 a.m.: Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Nick Watney

2:10 p.m., 9 a.m.: K.J. Choi, Simon Dyson, Scott Verplank

2:20 p.m., 9:10 a.m.: Mitch Lowe, Jeff Overton, Blake Adams

2:30 p.m., 9:20 a.m.: TBD, Paul Scaletta, Robert Allenby

• • •

10th tee (Thursday), 1st tee (Friday)

12:30 p.m., 7:20 a.m.: Bryce Molder, Matt Every, Bob Sowards

12:40 p.m., 7:30 a.m.: Sang Moon Bae, Darrell Kestner, David Lynn

12:50 p.m., 7:40 a.m.: Marcus Fraser, Jamie Donaldson, Doug Wade

1 p.m., 7:50 a.m.: Jonathan Byrd, Anders Hansen, Aaron Baddeley

1:10 p.m., 8 a.m.: Thorbjorn Olesen, Fredrik Jacobson, Jimmy Walker

1:20 p.m., 8:10 a.m.: Miguel Angel Jimenez, K.T. Kim, Bo Van Pelt

1:30 p.m., 8:20 a.m.: Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem, Vijay Singh

1:40 p.m., 8:30 a.m.: Charlie Wi, Pablo Larrazabal, Chez Reavie

1:50 p.m., 8:40 a.m.: Retief Goosen, Mark Brooks, Roger Chapman

2 p.m., 8:50 a.m.: Alexander Noren, Mark Wilson, George Coetzee

2:10 p.m., 9 a.m.: Marc Leishman, Ted Potter, Jr., Brian Gaffney

2:20 p.m., 9:10 a.m.: Michael Hoey, Kevin Na, Rod Perry

2:30 p.m., 9:20 a.m.: Brendan Jones, Bill Murchison, TBD