Rory McIlroy to return after walk-off

Updated: February 3, 2014, 3:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A year after walking off the course during the second round of the Honda Classic and citing a toothache, Rory McIlroy will return to play this year's event.

Last March, McIlroy was ranked No. 1 in the world but was struggling with his game. He had switched out all 14 clubs and changed golf balls after signing a lucrative endorsement contract with Nike.

McIlroy first blamed the withdrawal on wisdom tooth pain, but he cleared the air a week later at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

"I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't the right thing to do,'' McIlroy said. "No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn't going to be good enough to make the cut."

McIlroy will join several others ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking at the Honda Classic, including No. 2 Adam Scott, No. 6 Zach Johnson and No. 9 Sergio Garcia. McIlroy is ranked seventh.

Michael Thompson won the Honda Classic in 2013 and will defend his title Feb. 27-March 2 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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