Rory McIlroy at the Honda Classic: Best and worst at PGA National

Rory McIlroy returns to a familiar hunting ground for this week’s Honda Classic, making his ninth appearance in an event that has brought out the best and worst of the Northern Irishman.

The 28-year-old returns to PGA National after missing last year’s event during his recovery from an injury, having featured in the tournament every other year since first playing on the PGA Tour in 2009.

McIlroy ended seven strokes off the pace in his first appearance and followed it up with tied-40th and tied-70th finishes over his next two starts, before claiming one of the significant victories of his career at the event in 2012.

Taking a two-shot lead into the final round, McIlroy saw his advantage threatened when Tiger Woods – playing several groups ahead – posted a birdie-eagle finish to close a Sunday 62 and set the clubhouse target.

McIlroy responded by converting a number of crucial par-saves on the back nine to close a one-under 69 and see out a two-stroke victory, which lifted him to world No 1 for the first time.

A torrid start to his title defence 12 months later saw McIlroy slump to seven-over-par after eight holes of his second round, leading him to withdraw mid-tournament with what he described as “severe toothache”.

The Florida Swing opener almost produced another McIlroy win in 2014, only for him to card a final-round 74 and lose to Russell Henley in a play-off.

The four-time major champion missed the cut in most recent two starts at the event, with McIlroy heading to Florida still searching for a first worldwide victory since the 2016 Tour Championship.

Live on the Range: Honda Classic

February 21, 2018, 8:00pm

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Watch the Honda Classic throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage begins with the preview show on Wednesday from 8pm.

Live PGA Tour Golf

February 22, 2018, 2:00pm

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