McIlroy adding Northern Trust to '16 schedule

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Rory McIlroy plans to add the Northern Trust Open to his 2016 schedule, an appearance that will mark the Ulsterman's first trip to Riviera Country Club

McIlroy laid out his early-season schedule in an interview Thursday with the "Off the Ball" radio program in Ireland. After beginning the year with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and a title defense at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy will head to Southern California Feb. 18-21, largely out of a desire to see the course known as "Hogan's Alley."

"I've added an extra event in the States just because I want to go play the golf course," McIlroy said. "I've heard Riviera is a great course and I want to go play there in L.A., and I think it'll be a good course for me."

The addition means that McIlroy's schedule leading into the Masters will be a bit more crowded than in years past. McIlroy typically looks to make the Masters his sixth start of the year, but it is now slated to be his eighth start next year as the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship switches dates from May to March.

"Couple extra events, hopefully just a little bit sharper and a bit more ready," he said. "Hopefully things go my way."

McIlroy also confirmed in a Facebook video his plans to return to the Memorial next June, an event he had played five straight years before skipping last summer.