The Cognizant Classic has not featured a golfer ranked among the top two in the world in nearly a decade.
That likely will end in 2024.
Rory McIlroy, the Jupiter resident and world No. 2, has committed to the event formerly known as the Honda Classic. McIlroy, the 2012 champion, has not played in the tournament held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens since 2018.
“It’s always good to come back to a tournament where you’ve won and had success before, and even better when it’s a bit of a home game,” McIlroy, 34, said. “PGA National is a great test of golf and the fan support and incredible crowds make for an exciting atmosphere throughout the week for the players.”
Cognizant will be held Feb. 29-March 3.
Cognizant has not had a golfer ranked in the top 10 the week of the event in the past three years and none in the top two since McIlroy was No. 1 in the world when he played in 2015. The 2023 field included four of the top 30 golfers, none higher than 18th.
McIlroy joins fellow Jupiter resident Rickie Fowler, No. 27 in the Official World Golf rankings, as the first two announced commitments.
With the PGA Tour adjusting the 2024 schedule to add a week between the West Coast Swing and Cognizant, which is the start of the Florida Swing, the hope is the field receives a boost.
Cognizant signed a six-year deal as the new title sponsor last month and the PGA Tour’s Championship Management division now is running the event.
McIlroy’s ties to the area run deep. He and Tiger Woods launched TGL, a virtual golf league that will be held in Palm Beach Gardens on the campus of Palm Beach State College. The start of the league has been delayed until January 2025 after the venue’s roof collapsed in November.
McIlroy coming off Dubai Desert Classic win
McIlroy is coming off a victory at the Dubai Desert Classic Sunday, an event he has won a record four times. He won twice on the PGA Tour in 18 starts last season, giving him 24 career tour victories, including four majors.
McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, led the victorious 2023 European Ryder Cup team with four victories. He won his Sunday singles match over Sam Burns, teamed with Tommy Fleetwood for two more wins and Jupiter’s Matt Fitzpatrick for another.
McIlroy’s lone loss, in which he was teamed with Fitzpatrick, was filled with…