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Past champ McIlroy commits to Honda Classic

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Rory McIlroy has officially committed to the Honda Classic, marking the eighth year in a row that the Ulsterman will tee it up at PGA National.

McIlroy has not played since winning the DP World Tour Championship in November, and along with it the European Tour's Race to Dubai title. He will get back to competition next week in Abu Dhabi, and he is eager to return next month to the course and event where he first reached the summit of the world rankings.

"This is an important first stop for me in the Florida swing of events, and it's a course that sets up well for my game," McIlroy said in a release. "In such a strong field, there will be a lot of guys hungry to secure a win in the early part of the season, so I've every motivation to get off to a fast start."

McIlroy has had a tumultuous relationship with the Champion Course over the past four years. His 2012 victory over a hard-charging Tiger Woods took him to No. 1 in the world, but the following year he abruptly withdrew, citing a tooth ailment. He returned in 2013 and lost to Russell Henley in a playoff after forfeiting a late lead, while last year he missed the cut after rounds of 73-74.

The Honda will mark the second of what is expected to be three straight starts in the U.S. for McIlroy. He has already committed to the Northern Trust Open, held the week prior in Los Angeles, and is expected to be in the field for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral the following week.

The Honda Classic will be held Feb. 25-28 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.