First Rickie Fowler, now Rory McIlroy: The Cognizant Classic is off to a hot start in commitments

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.

CJ Cup 2021
CJ Cup 2021

Rickie Fowler (white shirt) and Rory McIlroy walk the first fairway during the final round of the CJ Cup golf tournament. (Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

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 drama. McIlroy was angered when Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Joe LaCava, overdid his celebration after Cantlay drained a long putt that ended up clinching the match. LaCava distracted McIlroy as he was lining up a potential tying putt during a chaotic scene in which the entire U.S. team was waving its caps, a reaction to the fans who had taunted Cantlay the entire day.

Then, as he was leaving the club, McIlroy was yelling and pointing at Jim “Bones” Mackay, Justin Thomas’ caddie and a close friend of LaCava’s. He had to be held back and shoved into a car by Shane Lowry. The scene went viral.

The 2012 Honda was McIlroy’s third PGA Tour win. He carded a 12-under 268 and held off a Sunday charge from Woods, who tied for second two shots behind.

The victory allowed McIlroy to rise to world No. 1 for the first time in his career. He has spent 122 weeks atop the world rankings. McIlroy has been ranked in the top three every week but one since June 2022.

Grounds and Hospitality tickets are now on sale for the 2024 Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches. For more information, visit

Tom D’Angelo can be reached at Follow him on social media @tomdangelo44.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek