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Rory McIlroy learns from 2013 low point as he returns for Honda Classic

updated 12:38 PM EST, Thu February 27, 2014
Rory McIlroy is one of seven world top-10 players competing at the Honda Classic in Florida.
Rory McIlroy is one of seven world top-10 players competing at the Honda Classic in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy says his Honda Classic walk-off was low point of 2013
  • The world No. 8 says he's learned to "stay patient" after what happened
  • McIlroy is one of seven top-10 players competing in Florida event
  • U.S. Open champion Justin Rose has pulled out with a shoulder injury

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(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy may be hoping to exorcise some demons when he returns to the scene of one of his career lows at this week's Honda Classic in Florida.

At last year's tournament, the world No. 8 walked off the course in the middle of a dismal second round, blaming a sore wisdom tooth.

McIlroy, who lost his number one ranking and took until December to win a tournament in a difficult 2013 season, described his Honda hiccup as the lowest point of the year.

"Probably The Honda back (last) February," McIlroy told PGATour.com, when asked for his low point. "I made a mistake walking off the course and disappointed not just myself.

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"Golf can be a frustrating game and emotionally tough. What's important, though, is that I've learned from that episode. I need to stay patient and play my way through the difficult patches."

Read: Honda Classic leaderboard

The Northern Ireland golfer also switched to Nike clubs in a multimillion-dollar deal at the start of last season and found the transition from his former Titleist equipment wasn't quite as smooth as he would have liked.

But he believes he has now quite literally got into the swing with his new equipment.

"It would be fantastic to be 100% comfortable with all 14 clubs at the same time," McIlroy said.

"It was worth taking the time to get it right. I'm pretty settled with the kit, to be honest."

The tournament at the PGA National course will unite seven of the world's top-10 players -- more than in any event of the season so far.

It is also the first tournament of 2014 where the top three -- Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson -- have competed in the same field.

However, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose had to drop out of the event at the last minute because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Read: McIlroy sorry for Florida walk-off

Read: Henrik Stenson seeks major high

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