by Ronan MacNamara
Rory McIlroy. By Golffile
Rory McIlroy will make his first start of the new DP World Tour next season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
The four-time major champion has won virtually all around the world but is yet to taste success in Abu Dhabi and he will be looking to change that in two months after four runner-up finishes and four third place finishes.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is the first of two consecutive Rolex Series events and McIlroy is looking forward to beginning his season at the Yas Links course as he chases that elusive win.
"I have many happy memories of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and once again look forward to starting my year at this wonderful tournament," McIlroy said. "Yas Links is a spectacular course and is going to provide a new challenge but one all players will enjoy.
"Obviously, I have come close a few times at this event in the past, and I'm hopeful I can be in with a chance of picking up that trophy for the first time come Sunday."
Collin Morikawa is also pencilled in to compete at the event with the world number two scheduled to appear at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic the following week.
The 24-year-old is the current Race to Dubai champion after taking down McIlroy and co at the season finale of the European Tour in Dubai last week and he is relishing the prospect of more Middle East success.
"I cannot wait to return to the Middle East and play the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time," said Morikawa. "I have heard great things about the event and it always attracts a world-class field year on year, but I know this year will be extra special at Yas Links for the first time.
"It's a course which I know is hugely popular amongst the players from the Pro-Am that has been played there in the past, and I'm excited to start my season as reigning DP World Tour Rankings Champion there."
Shane Lowry of course, has won this event back in 2019 when he held off Richard Sterne and it proved the catalyst for a hugely successful year for the Clara native who won the Open Championship later that July in Royal Portrush.