PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – Rory McIlroy, the 2012 Honda Classic champion presently in the middle of a three-month break from the game as he recovers from a lingering rib injury, has added the 2018 Honda Classic to his evolving early-year schedule.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, will compete against a world class field in the PGA TOUR event which will be held February 19-25 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
The Honda is part of an aggressive early-season schedule for McIlroy. He will return to competitive golf at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship January 18 and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the following week. McIlroy will then return to the United States and play at Pebble Beach February 8 and at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles February 15 before returning home to Palm Beach Gardens for The Honda Classic the following week.
"It is great to see Rory getting back to being healthy again," Honda Classic Executive Kenneth R. Kennerly said. "He has been such a great friend to The Honda Classic through the years and is one of the game’s premier players and a fan favorite. We hope The Honda Classic helps springboard him to a phenomenal year in 2018."
McIlroy was forced to the sidelines in October after struggling through the rib injury throughout most of the 2017 season and has only been working on wedges and putting over the past month.
The injury had a massive impact on his game. He had six top 10 finishes and remained one of the top drivers of the ball in the world. But McIlroy finished No. 52 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained on approach shots (he's normally in the top 35), No. 145 in approach shots from 100-125 yards and No. 190 in approach shots from 125-150 yards.
"I played for four months without hitting a shot from left to right," McIlroy said. "My wedge play was not very good. My iron play was not very good. It's so nice that I have this time in the offseason to work on all this stuff and make sure it hopefully never happens again."
McIlroy is intent regaining his place at the top of the game and has said he intends to play 26 events leading up to the Ryder Cup in the fall to accomplish that.
"I feel I'm a much better player than I was in 2011 and 2012, when I was able to win a couple of majors," the 28-year-old McIlroy said. "I feel I can do better than that in the next 10 years and that's why these three months off are very important for me to put some really good things in place, step away and just reassess where I'm at and where I need to be.
"The landscape of the game has changed a bit since I started to win majors. You have young, hungry guys now who are fearless and playing the game how I basically came out and played a few years ago. It's about gaining an advantage again here and there. Just reassessing everything and making sure I'm not leaving any stone unturned and doing everything I can to get back to (being) the best player in the world. These three months (off) could give me the foundation to have the next 10 years be even better than the 10 years I’ve just had. That turns a great career into one of the greatest careers."
Grounds tickets, Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2018 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).