Rory McIlroy picks French Open over WGC Invitational

Rory McIlroy to play in French Open
Rory McIlroy's decision to play in the French Open is a significant boost for the European Tour

Rory McIlroy will miss the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this summer after choosing instead to play in the 100th French Open at Le Golf National.

The two tournaments clash as a result of the PGA Tour's 2016 calendar being re-worked to accommodate the Olympics.

As a result of the scheduling conflict the European Tour refused to sanction the WGC event,external-link which 26-year-old McIlroy won in Akron two years ago.

He believes the course in Paris will better prepare him for The Open.

The French Open starts on Le Golf National's exacting Albatros course - which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup - on 30 June, two weeks before the year's third major begins on the Ayrshire links of Royal Troon.

"Le Golf National might not be a pure links course, but it is traditionally firm and fast and can throw up some tricky conditions," said Northern Irishman McIlroy.

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

Four-time major winner McIlroy has played in the event on the outskirts of Paris twice before, missing the cut in his first full season as a professional in 2008 before firing a closing 66 to miss out on a three-man play-off by one shot in 2010.

The European Tour's decision not to the sanction the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational means it is not part of the 2016 European Tour international schedule, and therefore money won in it will not count towards the Race to Dubai or Ryder Cup qualification.

The Bridgestone Invitational is one of four World Golf Championship events jointly sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the European Tour and the PGA Tour in America.

Since the advent of the WGCs in 1999, the Bridgestone Invitational has been played in August at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

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