PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - Rory McIlroy, resurgent after a fluke ankle injury shortchanged the middle of his 2015 season, has committed to play in the 2016 Honda Classic, a PGA TOUR event he won in 2012 which will be contested February 22-February 28 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
McIlroy presently sits at No. 3 in the world after winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai and a total of four events in 2015. Prior to rupturing a ligament in his left ankle on July 4, he was ranked No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking and primed to co-star in an exciting duel with Jordan Spieth and Jason Day for supremacy among the game's new generation of superstars.
“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.”
The Honda is a prominent event toward McIlroy's stated goal of regaining his No. 1 ranking from Spieth prior to The Masters in April. McIlroy was playing well last spring and summer with victories in the Cadillac Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship and a ninth-place finish in the U.S. Open when he put on his soccer shoes and everything changed.
McIlroy ruptured the ankle ligament when his left foot caught in the turf as he was playing soccer with friends July 4. He missed three tournaments, including the British Open, but recovered in time to claim the Race to Dubai.
Then he took nine weeks off, taking the time to go get laser eye surgery to correct his vision and he suspects improve his putting, especially at places like PGA National and Augusta National, where he will return in April seeking to complete his career Grand Slam.
"My vision is so sharp. It has to help my putting, help me read the lines on the greens, where there is definitely room for improvement," McIlroy said. "What the doctor said was that it might just be the same vision as you have with your contact lenses when you are far away. But close up – 20 or 30 meters – is when people notice the sharpness."
McIlroy said that because of his ankle injury he feels that he barely got started in pursuing his goals in 2015. He finished seventh on the money list with $4,863,312 and 15th in the FedEx Cup standings. So he has challenged himself to get out of the gate quickly this year by targeting a hasty recapture of the No. 1 ranking.
"It's a goal to try to reclaim that position 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 number one going into the Masters."
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