McIlroy to play Open de France centenary


Rory McIlroy is set to return to the Open de France this year to play in the tournament's centenary event as part of his preparations for The Open.

The Northern Irishman has twice teed it up at the European Tour event, missing the cut during his first season as a professional in 2008 and falling short of a play-off by one stroke in 2010.

McIlroy's decision to play in France means he will not feature at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as the tournaments are played on the same weekend between June 30 and July 3.

The four-time major winner was a victor at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2014 but was unable to defend last season due an ankle injury.

And McIlroy believes playing at the Le Golf National - host of the 2018 Ryder Cup - will provide ideal preparation for The Open.

"I feel that playing in the 100th Open de France at Le Golf National will be the best way to get ready for The Open, which is just two weeks after the French Open," McIlroy told the European Tour's official website.

"Le Golf National might not be a pure links course, but it is traditionally firm and fast and can throw up some tricky conditions during the French Open. 

"It's a great test of golf and I think playing there, as well as staying in Europe, will offer the best conditions to prepare for The Open at Troon.

"It will also be great to be part of the centennial edition of the French Open, which is one of the best events on the European Tour.

"I am sure there will be a special atmosphere at the tournament this year, so I'm looking forward to hopefully being a very big part of it."