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McIlroy confirms return to defend Australian Open title

SYDNEY (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will be back in Sydney in November to defend the Australian Open title he snatched from Adam Scott's grasp on the final hole last year.

McIlroy's duel with Scott attracted crowds not seen Down Under since the heyday of Greg Norman and his return for the 2014 tournament, which will be held at The Australian Golf Club from Nov. 27-30, is major boost to organizers.

The Northern Irishman's dramatic victory was his only win in 2013 and set the stage for a stellar 2014 season in which he has added a third major title to his collection at the British Open at Hoylake.

"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Sydney in November to defend my Australian Open title," McIlroy said in a news release on Wednesday.

"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."

McIlroy also won the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May and last weekend won his maiden World Golf Championships (WGC) title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Sunday's victory at Firestone put him back on top of the rankings at the expense of Australian Scott and he will be looking to reinforce his position at the U.S. PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky this week.

Scott looked to be on course for a wire-to-wire victory at the Royal Sydney Golf Club last year but McIlroy ate up a four-stroke deficit in the final round and claimed the Stonehaven Cup when the Australian bogeyed the 72nd hole.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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