2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches: Top 10 power rankings at PGA National

The Honda Classic - PGA National
The Honda Classic - PGA National / Cliff Hawkins/GettyImages
9 of 11

CognizantClassic/PowerRank/3. 3. OWGR: 2nd. FedEx Cup: 94th. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is back to compete in Palm Beach Gardens for the first time since 2018.

It’s been a bit of a mercurial event for him, but the highs have been high. One of the more memorable of his 24 career PGA Tour victories came at the Cognizant Classic (then the Honda Classic) in 2012.

McIlroy was the 54-hole leader by two shots over Harris English and Tom Gillis. Seemed like a solid chance for the Northern Irishman to come out on top, right? 

Well, some guy named Tiger Woods who began the day five shots back fired an 8-under 62 to nearly catch McIlroy. Rory didn’t have his best stuff that day, but a 69 gave him a two-shot win over Woods and Gillis.

McIlroy’s return to PGA National didn’t go too well. He cited wisdom tooth pain as his reason for withdrawing after eight holes in round two. He was 7-over on the round and on his way to missing the cut.

McIlroy got back on the horse in 2014 and once again had the 54-hole lead, only to settle for T-2nd.

His best finish in the next three starts was T-59th.

Perhaps enough time has passed for him to move on from those tough showings in the late 2010s to give this event another shot and play well here like he did at the peak of his career.

Statistically, McIlroy has played some of the best golf of his career the last two seasons on the PGA Tour. It won’t matter to most until he wins another major, but that’s not the discussion at hand this week.

The 34-year-old already has a win under his belt in 2024 at the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic. McIlroy nearly went back-to-back in Dubai with a T-2nd the previous week at the Dubai Invitational.

McIlroy struggled at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am but trended back up two weeks ago with a T-24th at the Genesis Invitational. An opening 74 spoiled his chances to win from the start, but he battled back admirably the rest of the week to make the cut and still beat over half the field.