McIlroy plans to play Palmer's event for first time

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Three years ago, Arnold Palmer jokingly suggested that Rory McIlroy needed to add his tournament to his early-season schedule.

Well, at least we think he was joking.

“If he doesn’t come and play at Bay Hill,” Palmer said on “Morning Drive” in November of 2012, “he may have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he plays next.”

Though McIlroy didn’t play the Arnold Palmer Invitational that next year or the year after, he announced Monday morning that he’d make his maiden trip to Bay Hill next month.

The world’s No. 1-ranked player is expected to make his U.S. debut at the Honda Classic, followed by competing at the WGC-Cadillac Championship before a week off and then the Palmer.

McIlroy won three times on the PGA Tour last year, including the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in succession. He hasn’t finished outside the top-25 in nearly 18 months.

In his most recent appearance on the European Tour, McIlroy claimed the Dubai Desert Classic title.