Rory McIlroy set for French Open return

2 min

Paris (AFP)

Rory McIlroy is to play in the French Open at the end of June as part of his preparations for the British Open, organisers announced on Monday.

The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland believes that the tough challenge of playing at Le Golf National near Versailles – the host venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup – will help him get ready for the third major of the year, at Royal Troon in western Scotland.

"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," the four-time major winner said.

"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.

"In a perfect world I would be able to win the 100th Open de France and then keep the winning run going to The Open.”

McIlroy has twice previously played in the French Open, missing the cut during his first full season as a professional in 2008 before going close to winning the title in 2010.

He fired a brilliant final round 66 to miss out on a three-man play-off by a single stroke and finish fourth, with Miguel Angel Jiménez lifting the trophy.

McIlroy came up short in his bid to complete a career Grand Slam of major titles at the Masters earlier this month when he finished in a tie for 10th behind winner Danny Willett.

The tournament, which has a 3.5 million euros prize fund, is the oldest national Open on continental Europe, having been played since 1906, only missing 1915-19 and 1940-45 during wartime.

The defending champion from June 30-July 3 will be Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.