Rory McIlroy returning to Orlando to defend Bay Hill title

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his biride putt on the 15th green during the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy returning to Orlando to defend Bay Hill title

PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy returning to Orlando to defend Bay Hill title

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The commitment list to the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational now includes World No. 1 Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Rory McIlroy.

All have all confirmed that they would be in the field at Bay Hill next month. The tournament takes place from March 7-10.

McIlroy won at Bay Hill last year with a final-round 64, beating Bryson DeChambeau by three shots.

“Obviously last year’s victory was memorable for so many reasons,” McIlroy said in a statement.  “I am so proud to return to Mr. Palmer’s course as the defending champion and look forward to a great week of golf and continuing to honor a legend of the game.”

McIlroy will make his fourth appearance in the tournament.

Tiger Woods, who has won eight times at Arnie’s Place, has yet to commit. This tournament was one of Woods’ 18 PGA Tour appearances last year. This year, the Arnold Palmer takes place the week before The Players.

Woods has said he will be cutting back on the number of events he plays this year. However, the API has always been special to Woods given its location and continued ties to Palmer. It is expected he will aim for the API-Players double this time.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the tournament’s official ties to Palmer. He brought the former Florida Citrus Open to his Bay Hill Club in 1979.

It offers a purse of $9.1 million and the 2019 winner will receive a three-year PGA Tour exemption.

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