World number one Rory McIlroy on Wednesday said he will defend his Australian Open title, crediting his win last year in Sydney as the launchpad for a return to form. (Also Read: McIlroy Not Ready to Launch Rory Era Just Yet)
The Northern Irishman overhauled crowd favourite and fierce rival Adam Scott for victory last November -- his first win in more than 12 months.
He has since stormed through the rankings to supplant Scott at the top after clinching the WGC Bridgestone Invitational crown on Sunday.
The 25-year-old three-time major champion said he was relishing another crack at the Australian title from November 27-30.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Sydney in November to defend my Australian Open title," he said in a statement released by the tournament organisers.
"I had a terrific experience last year in front of great crowds. They really loved the showdown between myself and Adam. And it proved to be a really important win for me.
"I believe my return to form was given real momentum in Australia last year."
There is no word yet on whether Australia's Scott, now ranked two in the world, plans to return, although he has been a regular in the past.