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LONDON (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy will play at this year's French Open rather than the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, saying it will serve as better preparation for the British Open at Troon.
Four-time major winner McIlroy won Bridgestone in Akron, Ohio two years ago and the event is one of the most prestigious on the PGA Tour. But this year it clashes with the 100th French Open after schedules were tweaked to accommodate the Rio Olympics.
The Paris event, played on the course that will host the 2018 Ryder Cup, begins on June 30, two weeks before the year's third major on Scotland's west coast.
"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 McIlroy, 26, a native of Northern Ireland.
"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."
The European Tour decided not to sanction this year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, meaning prize money earned in it by European players will not count towards the Race to Dubai or selection for this year's Ryder Cup.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Mark Heinrich