Rory McIlroy has announced he will make a return to competitive golf at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

After a disappointing tied 63rd at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October, and only one top 20 in six starts, McIlroy confirmed he would not play again in 2017 but did not comment on when he would come back.

The 28-year-old has endured his first winless year since 2008 and has slipped to 10th in the world rankings, his lowest since May 2014, and as a result elected to take almost three and a half months off to work on his game.

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McIlroy’s return will come in the United Arab Emirates, an area of the world he has accumulated four wins in, albeit none at this event, as he looks to mount a challenge on the European Tour.

It will not be an easy welcome back, though, as McIlroy joins a field that already includes world-number-one Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who will be defending his title.

McIlroy is hoping to waste no time in turning his fortunes around, though.

“I am looking for a strong start in 2018 and Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to open my season’s campaign,” he said.

“Having come really close here on more than one occasion, I will be completely focused on trying to win the coveted Falcon Trophy and getting myself back into the winners’ circle. That would be a real confidence boost to start the New Year,” he added.

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