McIlroy to play Kapalua event
Rory McIlroy will kick off the new year in Hawaii for the first time in his career. The four-time major champion has officially committed to make his tournament debut in the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions, held Jan. 3-6 in Maui. He qualified by virtue of his three-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. McIlroy was eligible for the limited-field event six other times between 2011-17, but he bypassed every opportunity to tee it up at Kapalua. The event has picked up increased interest from younger American stars, and it boasts an impressive recent run of recent tournament champions in Patrick Reed (2015), Jordan Spieth (2016), Justin Thomas (2017) and Dustin Johnson (2018). There are currently 30 players who have qualified for the tournament by virtue of tournament victories this year, with each winner of a PGA Tour event through the RSM Classic in November also eligible for the no-cut event.