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McIlroy To Make Honda Return


Rory McIlroy has confirmed he’ll make an eighth consecutive appearance at the Honda Classic next month, as he tries to close the gap on Jordan Spieth at the top of the world rankings.o

The world No 3 has had mixed success at PGA National in recent seasons; the venue where his two-shot win over Tom Gillis in 2012 moved him to world No 1 for the first time.

A mid-round withdrawal 12 months later was followed by a joint runner-up finish in 2014, before McIlroy missed the cut last year as Padraig Harrington claimed play-off victory.

After taking nine weeks off over the winter to undergo laser eye surgery and also make improvements to his putting, McIlroy will return from February 25-28 and says he is excited about a busier start to the year than normal

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to PGA National for this year’s Honda Classic,” McIlroy said. “This is an important first stop for me in the Florida swing of events and it’s a course that sets up well for my game.

In such a strong field, there will be a lot of guys hungry to secure a win in the early part of the season, so I’ve every motivation to get off to a fast start. I have enjoyed success here before and I’d like to see a repeat of that this year.”

McIlroy begins his New Year alongside Spieth at next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, before returning to Dubai early in February to attempt to defend his Omega Dubai Desert Classic crown.

The 26-year-old then heads to California for a debut at the Northern Trust Open (Feb 18-21), before making an eighth consecutive appearance at PGA National the following week.

The Northern Irishman saw the gap between him and top spot increase after Spieth’s dominant victory at Sunday’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but is now keen to put an injury-affected 2015 behind him.

“It’s a goal to try to reclaim that position (world No 1) as fast as I can,” McIlroy said. “I feel like now until 40 is my time to collect some hardware and make my stamp on the game.

“If I can get off to a good start, I can get back to No 1 going into the Masters.”

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