Rory McIlroy looks to return to form in Honda Classic defence

Last Updated: 28/02/13 12:48pm

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Rory McIlroy: Looking to emulate Jack Nicklaus at the Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy: Looking to emulate Jack Nicklaus at the Honda Classic

Sky Bet

World number one Rory McIlroy is confident he can put his recent poor form behind him and defend his Honda Classic title this week.

The 23-year-old, who is looking to become the first player to win the event in successive years since Jack Nicklaus in 1977 and 78, missed the cut at the recent Abu Dhabi Championship by four shots.

However, the Northern Irishman believes the conditions at Palm Beach Gardens will assist him.

"Hopefully I'm the first one since Jack to do it this week," he said. "This week always depends on the conditions, it can get quite windy here and the course can play firm and it can get tricky but it doesn't look like it's going to be that way this week."

The two-time major winner also revealed that he is still adjusting to his new Nike equipment, having signed a long-term deal with the company last month, widely believed to be worth as much as £150m.

He insists, though, that it is more of a technique issue rather than struggling to adapt to his new clubs.

"It's still an adjustment period," he said. "It is more about how I'm swinging the club. That's the real concern. It's a little bit mental, but it was more physical [with my swing].

"The ball was the easiest thing. The biggest thing was finding a driver that suited me and I feel like I've got one now that really works. I just need tournament rounds to get that confidence in it.

"I knew there were going to be comments made if it didn't happen for me right away.

"I'm only two tournaments into the season, I've got 20 to go so it's not like I'm in any rush or pushing for answers, looking for answers, everything is there it's just a matter of putting it all together."

There will be a strong field in Florida with the likes of Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Retief Goosen all competing.

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