Rory McIlroy is relishing the chance to play at Torrey Pines this week as he returns to the PGA Tour for the Farmers Insurance Open, with the world No.7 looking to test himself at this year's US Open venue.
Making his first PGA Tour start of 2021, McIlroy goes into the Farmers Insurance Open as one of the favourites to win, with Jon Rahm slightly ahead of him with the bookmakers.
McIlroy made his debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2019 when he claimed a share of fifth place, before finishing tied third when he returned a year later.
The Northern Irishman played his first event of the year at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour, where he failed to convert a 54-hole lead, with Tyrrell Hatton coming out on top.
Torrey Pines will host the US Open later this year in June and McIlroy hopes he can build on his recent form at the California-based course as he seeks his first victory since November 2019.
"I didn't really start playing this event until a little later on in my career, but it [Torrey Pines] has been a good venue for me," McIlroy said. "Also, looking ahead to June and the U.S. Open here as well, it will be nice to at least have it fresh in the memory for then, too.
"I think it's a wonderful layout for a major championship. To have a U.S. Open here, it stands up to basically the most elite level of golf that we play, the toughest test we face all year for the most part.
"I'm not really going to be thinking about what they're going to do because I just have to play the golf course that's in front of me this week. But as I said, I think three competitive rounds on the South Course this week, it will be fresh in my memory when it comes around to June and the U.S. Open being on."
McIlroy recently committed to playing the Phoenix Open for the first time in his career, adding to his busy schedule in the run up to The Masters in April.
McIlroy's appearance is his first on the PGA Tour since a tied-fifth finish at the Masters in November, with the world No 7 now looking to make a strong start to his busy 2021 schedule.
"I just wanted to get back out and play," McIlroy added. "I felt like I sort of stopped last year on quite a positive note the way I played at Augusta and I just wanted to try to keep that going into the start of this year.
"I feel like the more I play, the more I'll get comfortable with my game and know where it is. Yeah, I just thought it was a good opportunity to sort of hit the ground running this week."