Honda Classic: Rory McIlroy looking forward to staying at 'home' for event in Florida
Last Updated: 04/02/14 8:53am
Rory McIlroy: Withdrew during the second round of last year's Honda Classic
Rory McIlroy reckons he will feel right at home when he competes in the Honda Classic at the end of February - and not just because he's won there before.
The Northern Irishman confirmed on Monday he will be part of the field at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens as he bids for a repeat of his 2012 triumph.
"Having a place in Palm Beach now also gives the tournament a kind of special feeling - nearly like a home event."
The trip to Florida means McIlroy - who produced a sensational final round two years ago to pip Tiger Woods - will get the chance to stay in his own property in the area. It also will give him the chance to erase the memory of his withdrawal 12 months ago.
Having initially said he was in a "bad place mentally" after ending his second round after eight holes, the two-time major winner later cited toothache as the reason for his early finish.
"I really can't wait to get back to The Honda," McIlroy said in a statement. "It is one of my favourite events of the year, and winning in 2012 was an important landmark in my career.
"Having a place in Palm Beach now also gives the tournament a kind of special feeling - nearly like a home event.
"Last year, admittedly, I had a tough week; a forgettable week. I guess I let frustrations get the better of me and perhaps should have adopted a more mature approach."
McIlroy ended a difficult 2013 on a high note with victory in the Australian Open, and there have been further signs at the start of the current year that he's coming back to form.
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher shot a closing 72 to become the first man to retain the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title.
He finished second in the Abdu Dhabi Golf Championship in the middle of January, a two-stroke penalty effectively costing him the chance of lifting the trophy, and then led at the halfway stage of the Dubai Desert Classic last week before his challenge fell away.
"I'm playing really well now, enjoying the game much more and I am looking forward to getting back to PGA National," he continued.
"You could nearly say that I have unfinished business to attend to this year at The Honda.
"I feel good about my game and feel like I'm back to the place that I want to be. I'm driving the ball well, hitting the ball solid and giving myself plenty of chances for birdies. If I can keep doing that, the wins will come."