The traditionally strong field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational got even deeper today with the news that World No. 1 Rory McIlroy will join the tournament next month in central Florida.
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland will make his first appearance at the event, set for March 19-22 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge during the PGA Tour’s annual Florida swing.
“I am very pleased that Rory is going to be playing here,” Palmer said in a statement. “I have talked to Rory about playing here, and it didn’t work into his schedule in the past, but he told me that when it did work into his schedule that he would be here, and he is making good on his word. We look forward to having him.”
Palmer joked during a 2012 appearance on the Golf Channel that he would resort to strong-arm tactics to get McIlroy into the field.
“If he doesn’t come and play Bay Hill he might have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he’s going to play next,” said the King.
McIlroy hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since placing second in the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta last September. He helped Team Europe win the Ryder Cup two weeks later, was second at last month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, and won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this month.
He’s expected to make his 2015 PGA Tour debut at the Honda Classic on Feb. 26.
Here’s Rory’s tweet announcing his intention to play at Bay Hill:
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) February 9, 2015
Matt Every won last year’s Palmer Invitational. He finished a shot ahead of Keegan Bradley and two ahead of Adam Scott after Scott gave away a seven-shot lead on the weekend.