Cape Town - Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will return to the PGA
Championship - the first of eight Rolex Series events on the European Tour's
Race to Dubai in 2018.
The four-time Major champion set to join Paul
Casey and 2017 Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood in the field at Wentworth
Club, from May 24-27.
The former world No 1, who won the prestigious title
in 2014, will get his first chance to take on the revamped West Course, which
underwent an extensive renovation programme.
After a strong start to the European Tour season with
consecutive top three finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it will be McIlroy's
first appearance on European soil in 2018.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Wentworth," said
McIlroy. "I haven't played there in a couple of years but from what I've seen,
with the new grass that they've put in, it looks a much better golf course, a
much more playable golf course.
"It was always a great golf course but sometimes it could
get very tricky with some of the lies you could get. For them to re-grass the
place and for it to look as good as it does is great, and I'm looking forward
to playing it.
"It's always a good week. If Wentworth gets good weather,
and hopefully we do, the crowds are awesome, the golf course is great, and the
area is beautiful, so I'm looking forward to going back."
McIlroy reminded the world of his incredible talent with
victory earlier this month in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA
Tour, and he will be hoping to add to his current haul of 13 European Tour
titles when he returns to Wentworth, where he has previously tasted success.
He memorably won the PGA Championship four years ago
when he came from seven shots behind with a closing round of 66 to finish one
shot clear of Ireland's Shane Lowry on 14 under par.
That victory sparked an
unforgettable summer for the Northern Irishman who went on to win The Open
Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship,
before playing a pivotal role in Europe's victory at The Ryder Cup in
"I've had a weird relationship with Wentworth," he said. "I
had the win there back in 2014 but I haven't really done much else. I think I
had a top five back in 2009 but it's been a place of high frustration for me so
I'm looking forward to going back and trying to solve the puzzle again. At
least I do have good memories there."
Aside from marking the return of the Rolex Series on the
European Tour's Race to Dubai in 2018, this year's PGA Championship holds
added significance with Ryder Cup points earned at European Tour events from
the PGA Championship until Made in Denmark multiplied by 1.5 on both the
World Points List and the European Point List.
"I'm very much in agreement with what Thomas Bjørn and
Keith Pelley have come up with there," said McIlroy.
"You want the in-form
players playing on your Ryder Cup team. It doesn't matter who they are or what
they've done, so placing a higher importance on those events closer to the
Ryder Cup is a good thing and hopefully I play well in those events and cement
my place on the team as quickly as possible."