With the clashing WGC-Bridgestone Invitational not counting towards the Race to Dubai or Ryder Cup qualification, Rory McIlroy was never heading to Akron. In a boost to the European Tour, he will star instead in the 100th Open de France, from June 30 - July 3, where double Ryder Cup world points will be up for grabs.
Not that that's his concern. According to the man himself, it's all about the build up to The Open at Royal Troon.
The European Tour writes:
"The four-time Major champion added a trip to Le Golf National to his summer playing schedule as part of his preparations for The Open Championship.
The Northern Irishman believes the intense challenge of Le Golf National – the host venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup – will provide the best preparation for The Open at Royal Troon.
McIlroy said: “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.
“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. 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 played in the Open de France, 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.
While the European Tour does not mention his engagement in the City of Light last December, it adds:
"The 26 year old Northern Irishman is also looking forward to returning to Paris, a city he has always held in great affection. “Paris is just one of the great cities of the world. It is a real melting pot of art, people, culture and history, and you can’t help but love visiting places like that. I can’t wait to get back there in the summer.”