(REUTERS) - Rory McIlroy has announced that he will play at least seven events in early 2018 in a busy build-up to the US Masters, where he will attempt to complete the grand slam of Major titles in April.
He said on his website (www.rorymcilroy.com) that he would start his campaign with two European Tour events in the Middle East in January - the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Dubai Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman will then switch his focus to the PGA Tour in the United States, where he will contest five tournaments in six weeks, starting at Pebble Beach in February.
His schedule, notably, includes no mention of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, which falls in the middle of his busy stretch.
All of the events will be part of his preparation for the April 5-8 Masters at Augusta National, an event he needs to win to complete the modern grand slam of all four Majors.
Former world No. 1 McIlroy is currently having an extended break from competition after an injury-hampered 2017 during which he did not win a tournament anywhere in the world for the first time since 2008.
The four-time Major winner also dropped long-time caddie J.P. Fitzgerald and replaced him with close friend Harry Diamond, who is expected to stay on the bag, according to media reports.
The 28-year-old has slipped to 10th in the world rankings.
He faces an important season as he attempts to keep pace with the wave of young talent such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka, who all won Majors this year.