Rory McIlroy has announced the addition of the Honda Classic, a tournament he won in 2012, to what was already a busy early-season schedule leading into the Masters.
“The landscape of the game has changed a bit since I started to win majors,” said McIlroy in a statement. “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.”
McIlroy will return from his three-month layoff next month and tee it up in two European Tour events in Dubai – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament he’s won twice.
After taking a break during Super Bowl weekend, McIlroy will then start his 2018 PGA Tour schedule, playing two West Coast Swing events in February (Pebble Beach and Riviera), then three in Florida: the Honda Classic, Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The schedule on McIlroy’s website shows seven confirmed events over a nine-week period, yet curiously doesn’t list the two WGC events – Mexico and Dell Match Play – which will be contested in March.
If those two starts are added – which given the hefty world-ranking and Ryder Cup points up for grabs, it’s nearly a given – McIlroy would make nine tournament starts, including seven straight, over a 10 week span.
“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,” said McIlroy, currently ranked No. 10 in the world.
RORY’S BUSY 2018 SCHEDULE
Jan 21 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Jan 28 Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Feb 4 Off Week
Feb 11 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Feb 18 Genesis Open
Feb 25 The Honda Classic
Mar 4 WGC-Mexico*
Mar 11 Valspar Championship
Mar 18 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Mar 25 WGC-Dell Match Play*
Apr 1 Off Week
Apr 8 The Masters