Rory McIlroy is relishing the prospect of playing with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas during the opening two rounds of the Genesis Open.

McIlroy relishing Tiger challenge

McIlroy relishing Tiger challenge

The Northern Irishman has been grouped alongside 14-time major winner Woods, who is playing in just his second official PGA Tour event since returning from a long-term back injury, and reigning PGA Champion Thomas during Thursday and Friday's action at Riviera Country Club.

McIlroy, himself a four-time major winner, admits he was hoping for a slightly quieter start to the tournament, but he is also delighted to get the opportunity to play alongside two players of immense quality.

'I wouldn't have minded a nice quiet couple of days on Thursday and Friday, but any time you have a chance to play in a group like that you relish it and embrace it,' the 28-year-old said.

'I would rather be in this group than not, and whenever you get a chance to play alongside one of your heroes it's always nice.'

McIlroy had made a strong start to the new season, finishing tied for third and second at his opening two events of the year, but he came crashing back down to earth last week as he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The world number 10 is not too worried about that blip, however, as he believes he has a good opportunity to bounce back in Los Angeles this week.

He added: 'The great thing about golf, every week you start everyone's level again and you get to go again and work on things. I still view the start of the season to be quite good for me in terms of what I've done and the progress I've made on my game.”