French Open to count as two starts toward membership

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Facing a crowded schedule next summer, the European Tour announced enhancements to the 2016 Alstom Open de France designed to lure players to one of the circuit's longest-running events.

The prize purse will be increased from 3 million to 3.5 million euros, while additional points will be available for both the European points list and world points list for Europeans vying for a spot on the 2016 Ryder Cup squad. Perhaps more importantly, the event will count as two starts for European Tour members, who now must make only five total starts in Europe outside of the majors and WGC events.

The latter change was enacted because the tournament will be held June 30-July 3 next year, opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The European Tour objected to the scheduling conflict and withdrew its sanctioning of the event once the new tournament dates were announced.

"We recognize that many of our members play a global schedule," said European Tour CEO Keith Pelley. "With the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational not part of the Race to Dubai next year, these measures will help them do that again next year."

Next year marks the 100th edition of the French Open, which is the oldest national Open in continental Europe. It will be staged at Le Golf National in Paris, which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup.